Raising Rob Ford

So, the Rob Ford Soap Opera has given me quite a pain. Right over here. No back a little bit more…

Between horrific videos, more horrific press conferences and enough drama to keep a spin doctor employed through to the end of his term as Mayor Toronto, it’s truly a train wreck and we are helpless to stop it, or look away.

 Here we have an adult male who is having, in effect, a toddler temper tantrum on the world stage. I find myself over and over again trying to explain this man’s actions to my sons, who frequently reply with, “But didn’t he learn not to do that when he was a kid?” or “Didn’t his parents teach him that?” They have come to a logical conclusion here. This man needs some discipline; perhaps some parenting is in order?

 You think I’m over simplifying? Let’s break it down. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been told these gems once or twice.

 1. Lying Only Makes It Worse.

Let’s start at the beginning. When this all started, it was about a grainy cell phone photo where Rob Ford was doing his best Whitney Houston impression. And while he didn’t come out with Crack Is Whack, he did come out with a big denial. Had he come forward with an acknowledgement of the incident and some humility (I know, it’s not humanly possible for this man), he could have slipped off quietly for some rehab, stayed in office and people would have given him the second chance he seems hellbent on. However, LYING about the video’s existence started the entire saga on bad footing. We look back now and say, “Well, if he lied about that, what else is he lying about?” Let’s remember, this man has already been temporarily suspended from office, and disciplined for using public transit for his personal use – the transportation of his football team. Prejudice exists, I’m afraid, based on previous behavior.

 2. Don’t Lie To Your Mother.

Momma Ford and sister Kathy took to CP24 to defend Rob’s “honor” (?!) and say that he has been truthful to them, that he doesn’t have an addiction problem, and that they support him 100%. Either the Ford ladies are Oscar-calibre actors, or they have tickets on a cruise down De Nial as a half-wit monkey can see what the Ford family truly is; a bunch of enablers. I’m sure Big Brother Doug Ford was thrilled to look like a moron on Rob’s behalf; DEMANDING the resignation of the Chief of Police on the grounds of trumping up allegations, less than five hours before his brother would have a media conference where he would admit to smoking crack. Ouch!

 3. Watch Your Mouth. (aka – You Kiss Your Momma With That Mouth?)

Right now my eldest son is 16 years old. He swears. If you read this blog with any frequency, you know I do too. The Big Guy can let it fly with the best of them. Second Born Son is keeping it clean, but I fully expect him to melt down at some point and “expand his vocabulary”. I don’t say this with pride, I say this to be relative. Most (not all) people have sworn at some point. Most people (not all) know when it is appropriate and with what audience. My 16-year-old hormone-laden son knows that if he were to come out with some of the crap flowing out of Rob Ford’s mouth (in private, never mind in public), he’d have his jaw wired shut. Ever since the boys were small, we discussed what kind of words were “appropriate” since media, friends, and some family, don’t have the same frame of reference, and we didn’t want our five-year-old coming out with a big “What the HELL?” just before Easter Dinner. We started with negative words like “idiot”, “hate” and “stupid”. Stupid is still as big a swear word as “asshole” in our house and will get you promptly relocated to your room with a lecture to follow. Common civility dictates some words are simply not appropriate, especially the mouth they come from is four inches above the Chain of Office.

 4. Be a Gentleman/Lady.

This may seem self-evident, but what this means is, be polite to others. Hold yourself in certain regard, and you’ll be surprised in how others treat you. If you act like a common street thug, be prepared to be viewed that way. Strive for more. This means refraining from making lewd comments about oral sex with former staffers, and even more so, don’t make that first statement seem less offense by making a followup remark that is just as visual about YOUR. WIFE.

 5. You are Judged by the Company You Keep.

Remember the first time your parents had to tell you to watch the company you kept? Remember how confusing that was to figure out? eventually, though, we did. We understood that be associating with people who broke rules, were disrespectful, caused trouble, were in trouble, were looking for trouble, were often…trouble? Ya, Rob wasn’t listening that day.

 6. Say “Sorry” Like You Mean It.

When we were kids, saying sorry was like getting a band-aid. It solved the problem immediately. As we mature and the Sorry we need to say is for bigger issues than, say, slamming the door, we understand that Sorry isn’t a band-aid anymore. It’s an acknowledgement of our error and it’s impact on another person. One of my biggest pet peeves is someone using the word Sorry with no meaning behind it. At first Rob Ford refused to say he was Sorry. Within days, he was saying Sorry so much, it began to lose its impact. He quickly moved on to say that he’s said Sorry so many times, he doesn’t know what else to say. And that, my friends, is the problem. There is nothing else to say.

 7. You Always Get Caught.

Wasn’t it freaky how our Moms knew stuff? How did they know??? Did they really have eyes in the back of their heads? Was there a Secret Mom Society?? Any time we do something wrong, bad, hurtful and try to cover it up, it always comes back to bite us. If we didn’t learn this when we were four sneaking cookies, then perhaps we have to learn it in our mid 40s, with low-grade cell-phone video to rat us out. (FYI – There totally is a Secret Mom Society – in case my kids are reading this…)

 8. You Call These People Your Friends?

Not to be confused with #5, this point is for all the people who are lining up to say they support Rob Ford and that this media circus is nothing more than a witch hunt. If you are truly part of Ford Nation, and want to see this man re-elected for another term, you will show support in him stepping aside temporarily. Because if nothing else is evident, it is this; Rob Ford has issues, demons if you will, that need to be addressed now. His passionate refusal to leave the role of Mayor is not only an issue for the City and the Province, but most importantly, is jeopardizing his well-being and his role as a father and husband. Choose your priorities wisely. Voters love a Come-Back story. Be the new and improved Rob Ford. Everyone deserves a second chance, but its hard to rally from a body bag.

 Let’s hope someone, whose opinion matters to Rob Ford, can step in and give him the sage advice he needs.

Starting with a Time Out.