There are many parents who would be proud to have a child decide to follow in their footsteps. Carry on the family business, build upon a legacy of philanthropy, join the military . . . whatever it may be. But then there are instances in which sons choose the same path as their dads and the end results are just heartbreaking. This is certainly the case with the all too common problem of violent behavior being handed down from generation to generation.
Kentucky man Stacey Spencer will be spending the next twenty-five years of his life in prison after shooting a young Iraq war veteran, Clayton Meyer, a little more than a year ago in an attempted robbery. Spencer was only seventeen when he committed the murder but was tried as an adult.
Spencer’s father, who shares his name, was not present in the courtroom during his son’s trial. Instead, he was in prison already serving the exact same sentence that his son must now begin. The older Spencer was convicted in 2006 of robbery, assault, and murder.
Our children can succeed coming from any environment. There are many wonderful stories of young men and women who struggled through the most difficult of circumstances and broke the cycle of violence or drugs or abuse that had plagued their family. But, we certainly make it harder for kids when what is modeled for them is a life of crime.
I am not making excuses for what Spencer did and he deserves to face the punishment he has earned for the horrible act he committed. But, let’s hope that the habit of violence in this family ends with the current generation.
* * *