"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Monday, June 15, 2009

Giving a Grown-Kids' Perspective on Divorce

The project:
Share my appreciation for both of my divorced parents' conscious decision not to bad mouth one another in front of their child, and help a new divorcee understand the importance of keeping it all above board when the kids are around.

20 minutes

Why bother?
I was talking to a father who is currently going through the final throes of divorce. They have two kids, about 8 and 10 years old, so I got to thinking about my own parents who were divorced early in my childhood. While they really didn't care much for each other at all by the time they split, I don't recall ever hearing either of them saying an unkind word about the other during my childhood. Sure, there were trying times between them, but my parents did their best (and boy was it GOOD) not to talk trash about each other, even when the opportunity lay before them like a yellow-brick road.

It's too bad that so many couples don't last, and that my parents' circumstances weren't better. But I am thankful for the efforts they made - they did the best they could. I thought maybe if I shared this part of my story, this newly single father would remember someday if, in the heat of the moment, he considered trashing the children's mother within their earshot.

Worth it?
Realizing how much effort parents put into their children comes somewhere around, oh, never. But certainly since I've had my own kids, and grown up a bit myself, I can certainly see it more clearly. Sharing the lessons they taught me through their actions - certainly worth it if my listener takes heed.

Illustration courtesy Donna62 under Creative Commons License.

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