Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts are a testimony to power of good parenting

The just-concluded Super Bowl offers an object lesson in the importance of what romance can lead to if it is yoked to responsibility: raising well-adjusted, successful people.

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Jalen Hurts talks with Patrick Mahomes during Super Bowl LVII Opening Night on February 06 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Jalen Hurts (left) talks with Patrick Mahomes during Super Bowl LVII Opening Night, which kicks off Super Bowl week, on Feb. 6 in Phoenix, Arizona.

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My husband went to California on a business trip a few weeks ago. While he was away, I found myself doing something completely out of character — switching on the TV while cooking or reading the paper. A silent house felt lonely. In 1960, just 13% of households were comprised of single adults. By 2021, that figure had more than doubled to 28%.

Some people who live alone are not lonely, but many are. A Cigna study found that 80% of Generation Z and 70% of Millennials report feeling lonely, and more than three in five Americans say they often feel left out, poorly understood and/or that they lack companionship.

We did not evolve to live alone, and as the rabbi noted at our wedding several decades ago, one of the first things God pronounced about humanity in the Garden of Eden was: “It is not good for man to be alone.”

The social science literature bears this out unambiguously. Married people are happier, healthier and wealthier than their single peers, and the children of married parents do better on every metric than those raised in single-parent homes.

But most Americans seem unaware of this data. Only a minority of Americans say single women raising children on their own is bad for society (though the percentage who have concerns rose from 40% in 2018 to 47% in 2021), and 50% of women believe it makes no difference.

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Intact families do matter though, for adult welfare yes, but even more for the children they nurture. While Valentine’s Day is usually given over to the joys of romance, the just-concluded Super Bowl offers an object lesson in the importance of what romance can lead to if it is yoked to responsibility: raising well-adjusted, successful people.

You’ve heard all about Super Bowl LVII being the first ever to feature two Black quarterbacks. Another story is that both Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts were raised by married couples that featured dedicated dads.

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Hurts’ father, Averion Hurts, is the head coach of Channelview High School near Houston. In fact, he was Jalen’s coach. Jalen’s mom is Pamela Hurts, a special education teacher and chairwoman of the special services department at Anthony Aguirre Junior High School.

It doesn’t seem to have been all roses growing up as the coach’s kid. ESPN described Averion Hurts as “the type of guy who can change a room’s temperature just by entering it.” They say he was particularly hard on his sons Jalen and Averion Jr., to preclude any charge of special treatment. It became part of Jalen’s armor. When he was berated by the Eagles coach Nick Sirianni (also a coach’s son), he let the coach know that he could handle it.

His father was also his mentor and his rock. In a pre-Super Bowl interview, he volunteered:

”He’s the reason I am who I am on the field, off the field. Being a coach’s kid, I talk about it all the time, but I truly lean on that. To always compete, to always give my best, to always show respect to the people around me. I think those are some core things that he instilled in me. I always go back to ... being a coach’s kid. ... Those are special times. But I learned so much, and I saw him lead.”

Patrick Mahomes is the son of Pat Mahomes and Randi Martin. Randi always knew that Patrick would excel in whatever sport he chose and recalls, “I had to ground him from practicing when he got in trouble as a kid.”

Pat was a professional baseball player and now runs a sports podcast. Randi is an event planner. The couple divorced in 2006, when Patrick was 11, but both have remained very involved in Patrick’s life.

Pat has not missed a single one of his son’s games, and Patrick honored him by naming his first son after his dad (he’s actually Patrick Lavone Mahomes III.) When Patrick was asked whether he ever felt pressure to follow in his dad’s footsteps, he said, “Not at all. My dad was always just looking out for my future. He knew once I made the decision to commit to football what it meant to me — that I loved this game, and I always had his full support.”

Both quarterbacks have given back to their communities through charitable work. Mahomes has a foundation that distributes books to Kansas City schools and provides other support to children in need. Hurts has volunteered for the Eagles Autism Foundation, Operation HOPE and several youth football camps.

In this age of angry, rootless young singles and bizarre incels joining online cults, these two are role models, at ages 24 and 27, of what grounded, mature men should be. Both had dedicated parents with high standards. It’s not that complicated. Parenting is the key to nurturing responsible, admirable citizens.

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the “Beg to Differ” podcast.

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