Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When Short-term Pleasure = Long-term Pain

Yesterday, it was reported that former football star Lawrence Taylor was sentenced to six years probation for having sex with a 16-year-old prostitute. He will now be registered nationally as a “sex offender.” How embarrassing this must be for his wife and children.

This is yet another sad turn of events for Taylor who, in 2003, got much sympathy and a second chance from the public when he told reporter Mike Wallace, “L.T. died a long time ago, and I don’t miss him at all….all that’s left is Lawrence Taylor.” Unfortunately and sadly, to quote the famous line from the movie Poltergeist, “He’s baaack…”

It’s always especially troubling for me when I read about a father, prominent or not, that can’t get his life on track because he is consumed by his vices. When you’re a dad, in a very real sense, your life is not your own. Your actions - good and bad, moral or immoral - impact your children in a profound way. Like pebbles dropped in a pond, your actions ripple through your children’s lives, for good or for ill, for generations. Indeed, Taylor’s situation is a stark reminder of how pursuing short-term pleasure can yield long-term pain for those who love you.


  1. Lawrence Taylor is the father of 7 children (to various women). Is he a dad to any of them? I don't know. His recent actions would say no.

    His alcohol and drug usage has plagued him since he joined the NFL in 1981. This is a sad tale that is unfortunately not an uncommon one. If you can't rise above yourself for the sake of your children, then you will be consumed by your own selfishness.

    For those of us who know what it means to be a dad, this is a reminder that anybody can be a father (even Hall of Fame Football Players).

    I wish Mr. Taylor luck as he navigates the next part of his life. He should count his blessings that he only got 6 years probation and not 6 years in prison. Will he wake up? We'll see.

    Ed Van Aelstyn

  2. Generally speaking, I agree with Roland’s commentary and I agree with Ed’s response.

    That said, while I realize that there is benefit in analyzing and learning from the mistakes of others, I think we need to be careful to season our commentary with grace. I suspect that LT’s behavior goes beyond simply “pursuing short-term pleasure.” Most healthy adult males don’t pursue 16 year old prostitutes. There is obviously something much deeper going on in LT’s life that would cause him to choose this path.

    Please know that I’m not suggesting LT should be absolved from accepting responsibility for his actions. I just think that while we look at another person’s life, we need to also look at our own. If we’re honest, in our human condition, we all are capable of doing the things LT has done…and much worse.

    I’ve certainly made my share of bad decisions, including engaging in behavior that society (27 years ago) would have deemed as immoral. I was a hurting kid, desperately longing for the love of my dad, but never getting it. My dad was a workaholic. I'm fond of saying that I saw more of my dad’s back side than I did his face -- as he left on one business trip after another. When dad was home, he was emotionally absent -– absorbed in the newspaper or television. My mom suffered from Manic Depression and was in and out of hospitals. With no male role model, a very unstable home, a lot of insecurities, and mounting anger, I began searching for my significance in all the wrong places. Had God not intervened and placed a couple great men in my life, who spoke truth into my darkness and prayed for me, I could easily have done some of the same things LT has done. But, God changed the trajectory of my life. Once I was forgiven, I knew that I needed to find a way to forgive my dad. I began praying that God would take hold of my dad’s life…and He did. Then, slowly, we began building a relationship. Today, I count my dad as one of my closest friends.

    To that end, my prayer for LT is that he would have a heart change; that God would pursue and change him from the inside out. I also pray that God will pursue LT’s wife and children and help them to find the strength to forgive their husband/dad. Perhaps in time LT can reconcile with his family and become a blessing to them and to society. Some of the people who have done the greatest things in our world were “LTs” before they were heroes.

  3. Anonymous,
    It is unlikely that LT knew her age. Further, there are plenty of similar cases where a male is on the national sex offender registry for such things as MARRYING the girl he got pregnant (crossed state lines).
    Add in that girls supposedly "mature faster" than boys, well - SHE knew what she was doing. Where is the punishment for her? What about the female teachers who have sex with their students - are they not by definition PEDOPHILES? Yet they do not receive the sentence a male would.

    Further, as a 36 year old male myself, while the high school girls aren't much of a turn-on, college girls still are, and likely always will be. They're just at the right age, they don't look or think like children anymore, and so are fair game. If my game is good enough that they'll jump at the opportunity - What's the problem?

    NOW: Add in that my sister passed for 21 when she was 16, and I know 12-year-olds that look 18... People, GET A GRIP. Even if LT asked for ID, it could be fake - and he's not qualified to know the difference.

    Women wanted equality - give it to them with both barrels. Support them fully - make them pay their way, too; make them do the work they signed on for; raise daughters to respect men when they deserve it, and boys to grow up to be men, using whatever rules work (IE, religion, philosophy, hard-core discipline, whatever works!) Daughters should learn to fight and shoot as well as cook and clean; they'll be on their own someday, after all. they don't need Hannah Montanna or such garbage filling their heads, they'll get enough bad ideas on their own.
    Don't let sons get away with NOT doing dishes, washing, cooking, cleaning - they help make the mess, they need to know when and how to clean, and they too will be on their own someday. But also teach them the realities of western (American) women - Roissy in DC comes to mind as a stellar example of what women can and will do, and how to leverage that to your own purposes. Even if the son will be better than those who are unscrupulous, he MUST have the same tools in the toolbox, or he'll lose out, and become jaded and bitter, as I have - due to bad social and parental programming.

    As for me, I'm a surrogate father to an almost-16-year-old, and went from "comfortably well-off" to living paycheck to paycheck - the mother of the child has no clue, and the worst of female and male traits in one package. It's finally getting better now that I have put my foot down, but it's been 5 years getting her to cease her destructive tendencies - and she STILL tries to self-destruct.

    A house divided against itself cannot stand.


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