Friday, October 29, 2010
Ever since I can remember, I have heard, and heard of, parents expressing their fear that their children had been, or would be damaged,... wounded by divorce. I have talked with divorced parents living with guilt, and apprehensively watching their children for the outward expression of the emotional scarring that had to have occurred when the family was severed. Many of those parents were certain that a child could not grow up whole and well-adjusted without both a mother and a father in the home.
I was eight when I found out that my parents were divorcing. I remember my Dad being angry at my Mom for choosing to leave. I don’t remember experiencing any worry or distress about separating from my Dad. I actually felt relieved.
My Dad tried to guilt me into living with him. It was so painful as an eight year-old trying to figure out how to answer him. I remember him asking me, but remember nothing of how I got out of it.
Through my teens, I never once wished that my parents were still together. On countless occasions, I felt nervous and uncomfortable as a result of my father’s ongoing anger toward my Mom and the divorce; my brothers and I were often caught in the middle of his feelings.
My comfort through the divorce and my youth, though I was not conscious of it at the time, came directly from feeling and knowing that my Mom adored us and would care for us no matter what.
I am not saying that some children aren’t harmed by divorce. I am saying that NOT ALL children are harmed; and I can’t be the only one.
If a culture like ours, talks and acts as though a child must be harmed by divorce, will that prophecy tend to be fulfilled? If it is common knowledge that a child with only one parent is not just disadvantaged, but incomplete, how might that affect a child’s view of himself?
There are many people in the world who have no one. Not just one parent; no one.
I would wish for every child, for every person in the world, one person, just one someone who cares about them deeply, who shares their joys and sorrows, and whom they know will stand by them to the end. That person could be a parent, but it could be a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a sister, a brother, or a dear friend; just let there be someone.
I hope someday we will not assume that divorce must wound all children.