Dads: How would you talk to your sons about Temar Boggs?


Temar Boggs and his story of heroic intervention in the kidnapping of Jocelyn Rojas has me wondering…as a dad, how should I talk to my sons about this?

On one hand it’s a story of heroic actions with a Hollywood ending. Of a willingness to act followed by sensible decisions leading to a spectacular conclusion. On the other hand, the narrative being told is one of two brave boys who chased a kidnapper. Their relentless pursuit compelled the bad guy to release the girl.

Here’s a report just after the event:

In the initial coverage, Temar Boggs (15) said he and a friend followed from a distance. They watched the kidnapper circle back, retrace his route, while they kept eyes on the car. Then, at a stop the girl jumped out of the car and ran to Temar asking for her mother.

The cops said it is possible the kidnapper saw them and let the girl go. Possible. Watched. Followed. Distance.

But, now that the narrative has been processed, those are not the words in the headline. If you’re interested, here’s an interview where Temar has clearly been coached to use the correct “loaded” language.

All across the country 15-year-old boys are being told their peers chased and intimidated a criminal into releasing his captive. I could talk about the danger of loaded words in narratives here, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll ask:

Dads, how would you talk to your son about this?

Temar Boggs is a hero, no doubt. He deserves the acclaim. But is the nature of the new narrative that has me pondering. Every teenage boy aspires to be elevated, admired and celebrated. They want to be seen as strong, decisive problem solvers. Those are excellent aspirations.

Temar Boggs deserves praise, without a doubt. But not for “chasing” and “intimidation.” When I dig past the headlines and hype I find a kid who:

  • Chose to act when he could have left it to someone else
  • Recruited several friends to go search for her
  • Followed carefully
  • Did not confront the unknown kidnapper, but still did everything he could
  • Achieved success because he was brave, smart and vigilant
  • Avoided tragedy because he was not rash, arrogant or reckless

These are the traits for which I applaud Temar Boggs. Traits someone worked very hard to instill in this young man. Traits I am proud to see in my eldest son, and those I hope to teach my little ones as well.

A little girl may very well owe her life to Temar Boggs’ wisdom. And this story presents an excellent opportunity to talk to your boys about the difference between heroism and recklessness.

Dads…what will you tell them?



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I'm a storyteller. Fortunately, that is also what I get paid to do. Born on a boat and bred on the back of a horse I tend to see the world a bit differently ... and I sway when I walk.

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