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Jewish Journal

Respect and Prayers for Adrian Peterson

by Ilana Angel

October 12, 2013 | 12:44 pm

Adrian Peterson is a running back for the Minnesota Vikings.  He is young, handsome, successful, and from all accounts, a lovely and decent human being. As a woman who is raising a son, I look at men like Adrian and am inspired to dream big for my child. Adrian Peterson’s life is not without pain and suffering. He has overcome a lot to be who he is today.

Adrian was born and raised in Palestine, Texas.  He was 7 when he watched his older brother Brian get killed by a drunk driver, and 13 when his father was arrested for dealings with a cocaine ring. He turned to sports and excelled. He was a high school football star, a college football star, and is now a pro.  Peterson’s journey has not been easy.

I do not know much about this man, and am not a huge sports follower, but I have respect for him as an athlete and the work that goes into his success. The entire business of athletics is interesting and inspiring to young and old alike. Adrian Peterson is a star in the world of sports but today he is all over the news for another reason.

Peterson’s two year old son has passed away due to injuries sustained in a beating from the boyfriend of the child’s mother.  The child had been on life support but has now passed and his organs donated.  I cannot wrap my head around this story. It makes me think of all the children who are being beaten and killed today who do not have a famous parent.

Who beats a child? Children are precious and innocent and to hurt them is heartbreaking.  My father once hit me with a belt when I was young and I remember his telling me it was for my own good.  No it wasn’t.  It was vicious, did not help me, teach me anything, and only proved to be a lack of judgment on the part of my father.  It did however shape me as a parent.

When my son was two years old he tried to shove one of his toys into a light socket.  I saw him from across the room and I ran to him, jumped over the couch, and slapped his hand very hard.  He dropped the toy, looked at me in shock for what felt like forever, then burst into tears.  It was the only time I hit him and he has a vivid memory of it to this day. I don't hit.

Adrian Peterson posted the following touching message on his Twitter: "Thank you to my family, my fans and fans of other teams for their support. The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players. God Bless everyone and thank u so much," This message made me cry.

I do not know what happened to cause the death of this child, but I hope the punishment is swift and just to child killer Joseph Robert Patterson. Perhaps they should take him to a Vikings game and let him visit the locker room for a minute. I’d like five minutes alone with him myself.  There should be no mercy for anyone who harms or kills a child.

We live in a world where athletes are revered and while Adrian Peterson is used to being in the news, there will be no moment as important this one. The loss of his precious son will shine a spotlight on the countless children who are being hurt today.  My condolences to Mr. Peterson and his family. My heart is heavy and I am keeping the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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