It’s very seldom that I find material on the internet that is worth reblogging in its entirety. The following letter however, is one of those rare items. It is an open letter to the parents of the “Stephentown 300,” the three hundred teenagers that broke into former NFL star Brian Holloway’s Rensselaer County home, and proceeded to throw what can only be described as a brutally bacchanal bash, (yes, three times, really fast!) replete with acts such as urinating on the floors, destroying memorials and laying utter waste to the property. What’s even more outrageous is that these teenagers had the sheer audacity to post pictures and messages about the torrid event on twitter! Holloway was made aware of the ongoing trouble as it happened, via retweets from his 19-year-old son.
But I digress. The rest of the torrid tale is contained within the details of the letter below, penned by Kelly Lynch of the News Radio WGY-AM morning show team in Schenectady, New York:
“What planet do you live on?
Last week, word got out that your children had broken into a home in Stephentown and threw a party. More than 300 of them partied and drunkenly smashed windows, urinated on the floors, stood on tables, punched holes in the ceiling and stole a statue that was part of a memorial for the owner’s stillborn grandson. Oh, it gets better. Before, during and after the party, they tweeted about it and posted pictures of themselves engaged in this behavior.
Way to go.
The house is owned by former NFL player Brian Holloway. It is his second residence, paid for in part by his Super Bowl bonus. He lives in Florida and the Stephentown house is on the market. He watched this unfold online while at his home in Florida. Instead of demanding the arrest of your kids, he instead created a website, www.helpmesave300.com where he reposted their photos, identified the people involved, and called for ways to reach out to young people and show them that there are better ways to spend their time than drinking, drugs and vandalism.
He is a better person than I would have been in that position. It takes class and compassion to see beyond the urine stained carpets, broken windows, damaged walls and blatant disrespect to reach out to your kids. He even offered to welcome these derelicts back to his house for a picnic, where they would work together to make repairs and clean up the mess they left behind. I don’t know that the rest of us would have been able to react the same way.
And one kid showed up. One, out of the 300 teens who were there.
Instead of dragging your kids back to apologize and clean up the mess, you lashed out at Brian Holloway, threatened to firebomb his house, and are now planning to sue him. For what? For identifying your kids online. Well guess what? Your little Johnny did that himself the minute he tweeted that iPhone photo standing on the dining room table, holding a red solo cup filled with beer.
Look, I don’t blame you for what your kids did. Heck, I don’t even really blame them. Teens will be teens, and they do stupid things sometimes. We’ve all been there. It’s not fair to judge parents on the mistakes their kids make. It is how you handle that behavior afterwards that reflects on you as a parent.
Instead of sitting little Johnny down and reminding him that what he did is not acceptable and then dragging him by the collar to apologize to Mr. Holloway, you chose instead to harass and threaten the victim. Let’s not forget here, your child victimized this man by destroying his home. How dare you respond with anything other than regret, embarrassment, and a sincere apology instead of righteous indignation, threats of violence and lawsuits.
Parents like you are responsible for an entire generation that expects the world handed to them, because you have given it to them all along. Instead of teaching your kids to work hard and earn things, you give a trophy to every kid in youth sports and then hand them an iPhone in middle school. You are the parents screaming through the fence at the Little League umpire instead of teaching good sportsmanship. You are the ones criticizing the teacher instead of realizing they just want to help your child learn.
Can you please just step back and look at what you are doing to your kids? This is the generation that will grow up to lead our country and make decisions regarding our lives. Personally, I hope NONE of them come from Stephentown.
Kelly, as a parent, I couldn’t agree more, and couldn’t have said it better myself.