Blame Yourself—Or No One

A few weeks ago, there was a fascinating piece about the controversial NFL receiver Antonio Brown. Of course, anything about Antonio Brown is fascinating—his behavior in the last several months has cost him something like $40M in guaranteed money and taken the best wide receiver in the game out of the game, possibly forever. 

But what’s worth taking note of in this piece, for any dad or stepdad, are two seemingly inconsequential remarks by Larry Moss, Brown’s stepfather. 

Brown and his brothers, Desmond and Eddie, would often try to intervene in arguments between their mom, Adrianne Moss, and Larry—arguments Larry attributes to trying to parent Antonio.

Larry Moss, Brown’s stepfather, says Brown started staying out late and sneaking off with cars around the age of 14, with a “no respect” attitude that contributed to his leaving the Miami Gardens home. As Larry remembers it, he and Brown’s mother even lived in separate homes at times because of friction between him and Brown.

Imagine that. 17 years later this guy is still pointing the finger at a child for the troubles in his marriage. And he’s so shameless about it, he’s willing to put it on the record to ESPN. This is not what dads do—even if they do have difficult children, even if they are stressed and overwhelmed by being a father or stepfather. 

We have to follow Marcus Aurelius’ advice always: “Blame yourself or no one.” Your spouse is not the problem. Your job is not the problem. The economy is not why you’re stressed. It’s not the weather. The fact that the house is a mess is not your kid’s fault. The fact that their grades are slipping is not their fault. That’s not why your marriage is struggling. 

You’re the problem. Your systems are the problem. Your parenting is the problem. Focus on that. It’s the only thing you control. It’s your job to take the blame. It’s your job to help fix it.

P.S. This was originally sent on February 10, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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