Henry, Hopson,
Elizabeth and Harry
Spending a few minutes with Hop before a football game.

I think as soon as my oldest child was born I realized that it takes a lot of guts to raise a child. I used to think that once they left for college I was somewhat going to be able to relax…a little bit…maybe. All you veteran moms with adult children can stop laughing at me. Why did I ever think that? Because I’m naive, maybe, I don’t know? What I’ve come to figure out is that the older my children become the more I worry.



It’s funny how the worries mature with your children.


Now that my oldest is in college, I have a worry that is so out of my hands it’s scary, especially for boys. He joined a fraternity. Just in case you haven’t read anything lately, there has been a real effort to stop hazing in the Greek system. But you know what I’ve noticed? It hasn’t stopped. I would even say that it might be worse. For the guys, their pledgeship can be a tough row to hoe. There are four fraternities where Hopson is in college that have received punishment this semester for hazing. Some of the fraternities that were punished were physically beating pledges. (Guys still call it rush and the newbies are still called pledges.) Last year at the University of Alabama, the entire fraternity system had to suspend the pledgeship of every fraternity because of hazing. Ask me how scared I am, go ahead, I dare you.


Why do they think hazing makes for stronger brothers?


Hazing pledges doesn’t show how committed the new guys are to the fraternity. Hazing does not promote brotherhood. Hazing does not fill a young man spiritually. Hazing does not make him a stronger man. A lot of times it is the weakest pledges that are hazed the worst. When are we going to have someone in each fraternity have the courage to say, “No more?” When is the entire system going to stop hurting young men who are trying to find a place to belong?


Hopson’s pledge trainer is someone he looks up to. He really is trying to help to mold these guys into the leaders of tomorrow. When I talked to Hop Sunday night, he had just finished a pledge football game, was going to a Bible study (yea!), and then going to a Dance Marathon function. Dance Marathon is an all-night dance function that the university puts on to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network. Hop’s on the committee, as are a lot of the brothers from his fraternity. He has enjoyed working alongside them and getting to know them. They have taken a personal interest in Hop. Isn’t that what it’s about? Learning about someone on a personal level. Being life-giving in our words and actions is more effective than hazing a pledge to make him stronger. A lot of times, for guys, it just makes them meaner.




I hope my son will be one to stand up and be courageous to help stop hazing. Hopefully our RESPΣKT initiative will have a larger platform all over the country. The only way hazing will be stopped is in the hearts of the young people who are taking the leadership responsibilities within the Greek system. Hey guys, stand for something greater!


In Sigma,






Tagged with:

One Response to Courage Under Fire

  1. Teri Centner Teri Centner says:

    I know my dad tried to do his part in the late sixties to stop hazing, racism, and sexism in his fraternity at Berkeley. I’m not sure how long it lasted, but I love him for trying. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.