Further to the discussion surrounding Primal Loss, the Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak, some divorced people have responded in a way that suggests they feel hurt at being singled out. I am sorry if that is the case because personally I feel there are infinite ways in which we can screw up our kids and I have certainly partaken of some of them. The clarion cry of this book addresses a relatively new phenomenon in our society – for divorce has grown exponentially in the last fifty years or so – and draws attention to the fact that much of the heartache could be avoided in many circumstances. It also encourages divorced parents to explore that the divorce may have had profound effects that their children have not shared with them.
That said, divorce is not the only way in which our children learn lessons that damage their self-worth, confidence, trust and so forth. In my own family, I have fallen into a generational habit of periodic estrangements from my parents and siblings, which were very hurtful to my children. I’m sure, having read Primal Loss, that some of the negative lessons associated with divorce are likewise learned when the kids suddenly don’t see Grandma anymore. There are reasons on both sides why these things occur, but I am grateful that we reconciled in her later years because hostility and estrangement is not healthy, and it is a very poor example for our children, regardless of their ages.
I can remember putting a pressure-type baby gate at the top of a staircase. I knew that was dangerous, but we lived in a rental and securing a gate properly would have caused damage. And sure enough, the day came when my toddler fell down those stairs, and I looked at the “egg” on her forehead with horror and guilt. We all make mistakes, and the reality is, I could have been looking at a child with a broken neck. By God’s grace, we escaped tragedy. And that is but one of many mistakes I’ve made! Most of us get through life that way. We aren’t smarter, or better. We are blessed.
Over the years, we make decisions as parents that we might do differently today. Would we insist that a teenager stick with a job when he begged to leave? Would we be more involved in choosing colleges? Would we discourage a friendship or relationship? Believe me, there are many things we might do differently, but we sincerely try to do our best even if that is not always the right decision. Through everything, we pray for wisdom, understanding, and grace. We pray for our children and for our spouses.
It is through Christ, through having a relationship with Him, that we are more able to approach life with humility, which I believe is the most necessary thing when in comes to making decisions and navigating relationships. This I say after decades of frequent fails. But through His grace, we have come out okay. Not without a few scars, but pretty good.