In early February, Terrell Owens (T.O.) missed out on his first opportunity to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Had he been judged solely based on his football accolades, he should have easily been a first ballot Hall of Famer. The reality is that we are judged based on people's overall perception of us. Throughout his career, Terrell Owens was perceived to be a team cancer. Teams always had to juggle with the decision about whether his talent was worth the headache.
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Fredrick Douglas once said "It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men". In my opinion, Terrell Owens epitomizes this belief. When Terrell was eleven years old, he faced a traumatic experience that no child should ever have to encounter. He had a crush on a little girl that lived across the street. This seemingly innocent little crush would change the way he viewed the world forever. He learned from the girl's father that he could not have a crush on his daughter because she was Terrell's sister. This is how Terrell discovered that this man that had been living across the street from him all this time was his father.
How devastating is this to a child? Your father does not care enough about you to acknowledge your existence from literally across the street. Yet, he is willing to acknowledge and care for his other child. I am sure Terrell also questioned his mother and grandmother whom he lived with. They both knew the truth his entire life, but neither of them told him. Now it is reasonable to believe that their intention was to protect him, but this is evidence of how sheltering children can unintentionally have an adverse affect. Just think about the lasting impression this incident has on Terrell to this day.
If this were to happen to you now as an adult, would you really be able to trust anyone? Now imagine the lasting affect this would have on a developing child. Could this explain why Terrell struggled throughout his career with his interpersonal relationships? Terrell needed to be restored. Restorative Practices is more that just supporting and holding kids accountable who are exhibiting undesired behaviors. By building relationships, it also creates awareness and provides a support system to kids when they most desperately need it.
Hopefully, Terrell Owens will get voted into the Hall of Fame next year. I personally am pulling for him. While many saw his antics as selfish and egotistical, I believe he was inappropriately seeking to fill the giant void of attention and affirmation that he never received from his father. Now think about how many children in our schools today experience similar traumatizing events and then exhibit attention-seeking behaviors to fill their voids. Fortunately, we do have the opportunity to restore them.