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Today, write about anything — but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less.

Aggression is a necessary component of some careers, most noticeably in the military, in football, ice hockey, and in a lesser degree in other sports, too. I’ve noticed in successful sportspeople there almost needs to be a killer instinct to really be a standout.

The problem is, how does a soldier or athlete turn it off when he is in a setting, like her or her home, where it is detrimental to and dangerous in relationships?

Someone connected to the Air Force told me that after soldiers had served in combat positions in Afganistan or Iraq, when their tours were over, they were kept at Ramstein AFB in Germany for a couple of weeks for counseling on how to come down from the adrenaline highs (which saved their lives) and the aggression necessary to be survive. I thought this was a brilliant idea. (This is hearsay — I couldn’t back it up with facts.)

I’ve often wondered how people who have been in combat can turn off defensiveness and the survival mode. If I’m not mistaken, there are more mental health problems with returning or demobilized military people including suicide, PTSD, depression and other problems. Hopefully they ask for and get the counseling they need when they return to their families and their “normal” lives. I also have heard that spousal abuse can be more prevalent in the military — as it is in obviously first-rate athletes.

With athletes the other factor is their star status. They are constantly told how great they are, how special, how talented, and that’s backed up by the high salaries leading football and basketball players are paid. They no doubt have a female following that makes them feel pretty awesome, too, making it hard to avoid temptation and deceit. It must be hard to go home and be daddy, and get involved in the family confrontations that inevitably occur in any home.

Now we’ve had two instances publicized about child abuse by two dads who are football players. Many news articles and TV programs have discussed the issue of using corporal punishment with children and both sides have been represented. I think we have reached a point in time that spanking and switching are used less and less as a way of disciplining children. I rarely threatened or used it, and I believe it is a last resort for young children. I certainly do not want the government in my house telling me how to raise my children. Physical abuse can be seen, however, they are many children suffering from verbal abuse, or neglect (whether they are rich or poor) and that can be as equally damaging.

In professions where aggression is a basic qualification for being successful, perhaps education and counseling should be a mandatory part of the training process, and revisited during the year. I think just firing a guy because he switched his child, or hit his wife in an elevator, doesn’t really help the problem, which seems to affect several people. It would be in the best interests of the owners, the athletes and their families for all of them to accept this is a problem, and to address it in a constructive way.

 

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