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He's not perfect, but he's mine
Senior moments
Rich DeLong is the executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care. - photo by File photo

Most folks have been keeping up with all the events that have been happening recently in Baltimore. My guess is that just about everyone has an opinion regarding the initial police incident and the subsequent riots that followed.

And what about the mother, Toya Graham, who slapped her son several times as she was scolding him for being among the group of protesters engaging with police? Her emotional reprimand was caught on video and soon went viral. It was not long before she was being hailed as “Mom of the Year” for intervening out of concern for her son.

Now the latest word is that Child Protective Services in Baltimore is launching an investigation into the incident. A CPS spokesperson said, “After reviewing the video in question, it has come to our attention that Ms. Graham is a mother of six. Although her actions are somewhat understandable, we cannot allow a young man to suffer such violence and abuse, regardless of the cause. Therefore, CPS investigators will question Ms. Graham and her children and will also conduct an investigation that will determine if Ms. Graham will be allowed to continue being her children’s legal guardian.”

All I can say is, “Wow!” I’m pretty sure my mom and dad would have done something much worse if they had caught me throwing rocks at the police.  

When Ms. Graham was being interviewed by CBS News regarding her intervention, she said something that really caught my attention. Speaking about her son, she said: “He’s not perfect, but he’s mine.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounds to me like the words of a parent who is taking significant and personal responsibility for her child. Maybe her parenting skills are not the best, but her intentions were right on the mark. And as far as I can tell, the only thing her son may have suffered was an extreme case of embarrassment.

Up to now, I used to think that most of our country’s problems were a reflection of the continuous breakdown of the family. And while issues such as divorce, unwanted pregnancy, single-parenting and poverty make it more challenging to raise a family, the truth is child-rearing is complicated no matter what the situation may be.  Families come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life.

Our political pundits will tell us that we need more programs to cure our societal ills, programs that give people opportunities for success. However, the one common thread that all thriving families have is not a program, but a parent, relative, someone who takes a significant role for making sure the children of the family have guidelines, boundaries, encouragement and love.

My guess is Toya Graham’s actions last week changed her son’s life forever. Maybe it’s time that we all started embracing the idea that life should be more about significance than success.

Keep making a difference, my friends.

Call DeLong at 912-531-7867 or go to

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