Barack Obama

Hair-trigger father failed his daughter

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 February, 2012, 12:00am

Many parents have, without doubt, fantasised about doing what Tommy Jordan, a man in North Carolina, did to his daughter's computer to teach her a lesson. The American father is now world-famous for shooting his teenage daughter's laptop with a pistol and then posting the video clip online. It quickly went viral, attracting more than 26 million views in just a few days.

His drastic action was a response to a Facebook message she posted, complaining about having to do chores and that she should be paid for doing them. Feeling underappreciated, Jordan took her computer outside, set up a camcorder and filmed the shooting. His actions were not only childish, but scary. More disturbing is that so many online posts applauded him for his rash act.

Being a parent is a frustrating job, so you can sympathise with Jordan's behaviour while being appalled by it.

I don't own a gun, but I must confess to having felt many times the urge to throw my kids' computers out the window after they have spent hours playing computer games. I was pulled back each time because I knew I would have to buy them new ones. But I am also glad I never acted out. That would teach the kids the wrong lesson, as Jordan and his online supporters clearly did: it's OK to go over the edge and give in to your urges. But what if your urge turns violent or murderous?

Being a gun-loving, hot-headed dad, my guess is that he was a Republican who did not vote for Barack Obama. But if there is anything I admire about the US president, it is his well-known ability to stay calm under unimaginable pressure, epitomised by his election nickname 'No drama' Obama. Here is a man with two young daughters, and the fate of the world resting on his shoulders. But he apparently has never lost his temper with his staff or family. The ability to stay calm to resolve problems in stressful circumstances is one of the best lessons parents can teach their children.