By now you’ve likely seen the video of Toya Graham, the Baltimore mother who forcibly removed her teenage son from the Maryland rioting.
Ms. Graham is being applauded far and wide on social media – and even by the city’s police commissioner.
To be sure, it’s a gritty video. And while many of us may not necessarily advocate her choice of technique or language, there’s no question some tough love was certainly warranted.
In an interview following the incident, Ms. Graham said, “That’s my only son, and at the end of the day I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray.”
Freddie Gray was the 25-year-old African-American from Baltimore who died in police custody this past April 12, sparking the riots.
It will take time for all the facts of Mr. Gray’s death to emerge, but Ms. Graham’s actions are resonating, I believe, because many parents intuitively know children need and thrive with firm boundaries.
This viral video has served to remind us that moms and dads serve an important purpose: they protect children.
When strong parents set clear expectations for behavior and teach their kids right from wrong, those children have the best chance of growing up and becoming successful and responsible citizens.
Loving discipline and high expectations don’t stifle children. It sets them free! Well-disciplined children develop confidence and self-control and are liberated from the negative consequences of bad behavior. They enjoy the blessings of safety and cultural respect.
My heart breaks for moms like Toya Graham, a single mother of six. I don’t know her full story, but single parenting is one of the most challenging of all jobs. If you’re a single parent, please let us know how we can help. And if there’s a single parent in your circle, please reach out to them and see how you might minister to their needs.
And please join me in praying for the people of Baltimore. I’m spending this week on the East Coast, not far from the Maryland city. The peace is fragile. Please pray that order is sustained and that officials and citizens remain safe.