Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A Father's Reflection

This article ("Sometimes Divorce Hurts Children Long After the Fact") from Doug Mead appeared in the 5/1/05 edition of Inside Bay Area. I might re-title it, "MOST OF THE TIME Divorce Hurts Children Long After the Fact" Nonetheless, I appreciate the author's willingness to his feelings aside to provide the environment where his son felt safe to share his feelings. From the interviews and conversations I've had with other children of divorce, his son likely will continue to be affected by the divorce, even if he doesn't talk to his dad about, especially if he doesn't talk to his dad about it. It takes a strong child to talk honestly about divorce with their parents. What child wants to make their parent feel bad or guilty about something that happened long ago. And if mom and dad appear to have bounced back just fine, by remarrying and moving on, then it's even more difficult for the average young adult to pose the disturbing question, "If mom and dad got over the divorce, why is it still bothering me?" As this son approaches marriage, who other than his dad will provide his first picture of what a husband and father should be? And if he loves his dad, how intimidating will it be to talk about what now feels like ancient history to his father about what went wrong. No doubt that when this son is in love and thinking about marriage, his joy will be tempered by an unsettling fear that his dad once felt this way too.

But I give this dad HUGE props for this paragraph alone:

He was hurting, and he chose to talk about it at that moment. The ensuing discussion opened up his eyes to some of the truths of the divorce. I told him I was sorry we got divorced and asked him to forgive me.

My parents' generation was assured that kids were resilient and personal happiness was more important than family commitment. I think one of the most difficult (and respect-worthy) actions is for a parent to humbling seek their child's forgiveness.

Inside Bay Area - Bay Area Living

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