Why we can’t use math to understand the child of divorce

I suspect that a lot of people don’t relate to the kids of divorce because they have a wrong formula in their heads. I suspect that the following formula is what most people have in the backs of their minds when they think of the live of a child of divorce:

1/2 + 1/2 = 1

The parenting was cut into two halves. Since two halves make one whole, then what’s the big deal? One-half of a parent plus one-half of a parent should equal one parent. One-half of a family plus one-half of a family should equal one family. It’s just simple arithmetic. This would also explain the “just get over it” rhetoric. People operate under a faulty equation, then assume things about the child of divorce that are untrue.

I was about twelve or so when I consciously understood that my two half-time dads did not equal one dad. I had my dad and my step-dad. If we use math to understand the dynamic, it seems like being with each of them for half-time would be the same as having one whole dad. But it was not. I am not 100% sure how I came to this realization. It may be due to the fact that I was an eye witness to what a full-time dad looked like. My step-dad was a full-time dad to my half-sister. I could see quite clearly that what she had and what I had were two different things.

apple-split-not-public-domain-give-attributionAn apple that is cut into two pieces is no longer an apple. It is two halves of an apple. The apple lost its wholeness, and it is hard to quantify that loss because the math still adds up. But there is a qualitative difference between an apple and two halves of an apple, and simple arithmetic does not capture this difference. This qualitative difference is lost in the discussion.

It does not work to use a simple math equation to quantify the reality for a child of divorce. For the child of divorce, 1/2 + 1/2 < 1.

Image credit: Frank C. Müller

Kids of divorce are like side jobs

As I mentioned before, kids of divorce have a harder time finishing their educations than their counterparts in intact families. I hope you read the article at the link, and the comments too. Very enlightening. My own experience matches what is there.

I have read enough of the research know that researchers are missing something important. Researchers often focus on money, money, money, as if enough money will fix any problem. I’m sure that a lack of money is an issue, so don’t misunderstand me. But money doesn’t overcome one of the most basic problems, which is this:

After splitting up our first families, our parents move on with their lives.

Before the divorce, we were a joint project between the two people who brought us into the world, whose DNA we share. We were like a single, full time job shared by two managers whose lives largely converged. The two managers acted in unison for our good.

After the divorce, our managers acquire new, full time projects, and we become two separate half-time side jobs with two different managers. Rather than having their lives converge in the unified home we share with them, we live in “two homes,” and their lives become more and more divergent as time goes on.

remarriage-diagrams-both-together
Post-divorce: half-time project going in one direction while in mom’s home, then half-time project with a different direction while in dad’s home. Repeat ad infinitum.

The more I think about the project analogy, the more I like it.

The analogy should shed more light on why “two homes” is not what’s best for kids. It is confusing and it pulls us into two different directions. Our parents hate each other so much that they are willing to ignore half of who we are. Divorce judges fail at their job to recognize the injustice of being raised that way and so are complicit in perpetuating it. Practically speaking, it means that our parents are not there for us in so many ways. When they jettisoned our other parent, they jettisoned half of us.

I’m doing my best to shed light on the problem, but I’m just one person who probably comes across like she’s just too angry to take seriously most of the time. It is unfortunate that I have to be a spokesman for this cause, really, because I’m sure others could do it better if they knew what I know. Unfortunately, too few people really want to pay attention to how hard it is to live in our parents’ post-divorce, ever-increasingly divergent worlds.

Maybe we have become very hard-hearted towards unwanted and half-wanted children. Or maybe we always were. Or maybe we’ve participated in some way, feel guilt about it, and instead of alleviating the guilt through sincere repentance and rectification, we justify our actions. Or maybe it’s just very difficult to start a social movement when everybody believes that the definition of freedom means having the State annul our familial obligations at will. Or maybe when we look around, we see so many fractured families that the problem seems too overwhelming.

See also:

The connection between the national debt and abortion

By the same guy who argued that the Democratic Party is committing suicide through it’s support of abortion:

The Connection Between the National Debt and Abortion

He ran the numbers and concluded that:

…it is undeniable that there is a significant contribution to the national debt from abortion due to the lost wages of aborted babies who never became adults and formed families…

The United States of America is on a path to financial suicide by promising welfare benefits to seniors it cannot sustain partly because we abort so many of our unborn children based on a woman’s right to privacy…

The connection between the national debt and abortion is lost national wealth and accelerated insolvency of the welfare system.  Abortion undermines our true social security by eliminating workers who can take care of us in our old age, and contributes to the open-loop nature of our current Social Security system…

The pro-choice movement’s design flaw, part 2

Remember when I blogged about the pro-choice movement’s design flaw? How they are aborting themselves out of existence, that they have a hard time cultivating their own activists since they are getting rid of them as fast as they can? Here’s a post by somebody who actually ran the numbers on it and came to the same conclusion:

The Suicide of the Democratic Party

He says:

Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, liberal, progressive Democrats have staunchly defended, promoted and attempted to expand abortion rights.  In states voting Democratic, women terminate pregnancies more frequently than in states voting Republican.  This suggests that the Democratic support for abortion is effectively a genocide of future Democratic voters.  In other words, the Democratic Party is committing suicide by supporting abortion rights.

 

The guilty conscience problem: France bans video of Down Syndrome kids

Here’s a perfect example of what a guilty conscience will do.

A French TV channel has banned a video featuring smiling children with Down syndrome over fears it may offend women who have had abortions.

The Council of State ruled that the short pro-life video could “disturb the conscience of women who, in accordance with the law, have made personal life choices”.

Judges upheld a ban previously imposed by the French Broadcasting Council.

Read the whole thing here:

French TV bans advert with smiling Down’s syndrome children as it might ‘DISTURB’ women who have had an abortion

Here’s the video that was banned:

 

Democrats don’t care about women or gays or blacks or Muslims or…

I figured this out a few years ago: Democrats do not care about women or gays or blacks or Muslims or whatever other group they try to cater to. The Democratic Party is not about them at all, the party is only about Democratic/liberal ideology. How do I know this? Because Democrats don’t listen to women or gays or blacks or Muslims who don’t agree with them. Those people are not welcome in the Democratic party. It is really that simple. It’s a strategy called “identity politics.” They label people according to certain characteristics, then say that they care about that group of people. But it is verifiably false.

Even though it probably first happened with women or blacks, I first noticed it with gays. There ARE conservative gays, and gays who are against gay marriage. But do they get a hearing within the Democratic party? Nope. Why? Because it’s not about gays, it’s only about the Democratic/liberal ideology. As long as women or gays or blacks or Muslims are talking the liberal talking points, they’re golden. If not, they’re anathema.

Democratic talk about inclusiveness is a smokescreen to cover the promotion of their ideology. Here are a few examples of people who are not welcome in the Democratic party:

Here is a study from 2014 showing that…

Liberals are more likely than conservatives to dump a friend over politics

But don’t take my word for it–make your own observations and let me know what you find.

Ten education tips for kids of divorce

The social science is clear: kids of divorce have a harder time finishing their educations than their counterparts in intact families. Knowing this, and having lived through it, I have a few tips for anybody in that boat who wants to finish a college degree.

1) Don’t try to do it alone. The very first thing to do is to get embedded with somebody who is absolutely dedicated to helping you finish your education. This is somebody who will be there for you at every step of the process, from beginning to end. They believe in the value of an education and want to help. There are a number of ways this person can be there for you:

  • You can live with them, perhaps for free or for reduced rent as long as you’re a full time student.
  • They can help financially, either by giving you money, paying tuition, buying books, co-signing loan documents, paying rent, helping with groceries, etc.
  • They can help you decide on a major, navigate course descriptions, dealing with difficult professors, and in general help with the administrative side of getting an education.
  • They will be your cheerleader. Believe me, the emotional support that you get from a cheerleader is invaluable. Don’t discount this aspect of somebody’s help.

This person might be one of your parents, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, a cousin, or even a family friend. Stop for a moment and think about it: I bet that you know right now who is dedicated to your education, and who is indifferent. Gravitate to those who are dedicated and stay in touch with them. Remember that they can’t help you if you check out for long periods of time. My best friend helped me a lot, by being a cheerleader, cooking/grocery shopping for me and even driving me to school at times. Look for that person in your life.

2) If you haven’t finished high school, look into getting your GED. I don’t have personal experience here but there are lots of programs, books, etc. Many colleges will want to see a high school diploma or GED. Here’s a Google search for finishing the GED.

3) Bachelor’s vs. vocational/trade. A bachelor’s or an associate’s is another way of saying, “liberal arts education.” Liberal here means “broad.” It is not a political term in this context. A liberal arts education provides a broad base to help you understand the world from many different angles. Have you ever wondered why you need to take so many general education courses, courses that have nothing to do with your major? It’s because the institution wants you to have a liberal arts education, a broad base of knowledge from which to draw upon as you go out into the world.

However, not everybody needs or wants this. There are vocational/trade programs that might be a good choice. For example, I know two young men who attended a welding school in Oklahoma. I also know of a free trade school for young men. I started out as a bookkeeper, which is another way of saying, “vocational accountant,” an accountant who does not have a bachelor’s degree. I did this by taking the accounting course at Universal Accounting back in 1992. This training course is extremely robust, and a great way to go for somebody who wants to be self-employed doing accounting/bookkeeping for small, private firms.

Vocational/trade schools are a legitimate option.

4) Remedial courses are your friend. I realize that taking one or more remedial courses is embarrassing, but try to look on the bright side. These courses help lay the groundwork for future learning. I took two remedial courses. The first one was as an incoming freshman when I was 18. It was an English course, and I didn’t get any regular credit for it even though it was really hard. However, I had to take it in order to be eligible for the required English courses. Then last fall, I took Intermediate Algebra at my local community college. I took this course voluntarily, even though according to my transcript I was eligible for College Algebra (which is not remedial). It had been several years since my last algebra course, and I wanted to review the concepts so that I would do well in College Algebra. I ended up taking the CLEP College Algebra and passing, in part because I prepared by taking Intermediate Algebra.

If your writing skills or arithmetic skills need work, don’t be ashamed to take remedial courses. It is probably not entirely your fault that you need them. You slipped through cracks that were not of your doing. Just take the courses and get them over with. Regardless of the number of remedial courses you take, your degree will have the exact same value as somebody else with the same degree at the same school with the same GPA who didn’t take remedial courses. Don’t let pride hold you back from advancing yourself.

5) Associate’s degrees are valuable. An associate’s degree is a two year degree. It is a worthy pursuit in its own right, or can be a stepping stone to a bachelor’s. According to this news report, people with associate’s degrees earn more money than people with bachelor’s! See? Every little bit helps. So don’t discount the value of an associate’s degree. When I got my associate’s in 2012, it was very gratifying even though it was just a stepping stone.

6) Consider a state school that caters to working adults. If you work full time and have some credits already, consider one of these state schools: Thomas Edison State University and Charter Oak State College. Both of these are non-profit, state schools. There is also a non-profit, private school called Excelsior College, and it also focuses on working adults. None of them are “degree mills.” A “degree mill” is typically a private, for-profit school that lacks regional accreditation.

7) Get help online. I found a great forum that is dedicated to helping people finish their degrees. Go here to check it out: DegreeForum.net There are a lot of people there who understand the ins and outs of finishing a degree. There’s a section for the schools I mentioned above, a section for grad school, a section for those in the military, and other sections.

8) Stay on one catalog. I found this out the hard way. When you enroll, you are on something called a catalog. This is a certain set of requirements that you have to do in order to graduate. Colleges and universities tweak these requirements every year. If you drop out then re-enroll at a later time, you lose the catalog that you were on and you go onto a new catalog. This means that there is a new set of requirements to graduate. You may have to take additional courses, and/or courses you already took might not apply to your degree anymore. Every time you drop out then re-enroll, you’ve not only lost the time in between, you may lose courses you already took. Avoid that waste. Stay on one catalog by not dropping out.

9) Take advantage of CLEP and DSST exams. These exams are fully accredited, and are accepted by many schools. For example, California State University accepts them. They are cheaper and faster than taking courses. Do as many as you can, and do them as soon as you can. For example, if you just graduated from high school and did well in math, take the CLEP math exams starting with CLEP College Mathematics and working your way up from there. Some schools don’t accept them, for example, the University of California does not accept them. But that’s OK. Your primary objective should be to finish something. The actual school is a secondary concern. See #10. Links to CLEP and DSST exams. Talk to an academic adviser to make sure these are best for you.

10) For kids of divorce, the best degree is the one you finish. It is better to finish a communications degree at a state school, than it is to pine for a mathematics degree from Harvard. You already have enough working against you–remember the social science? We are not crazy to experience it as harder, because it is harder. Pick the easiest route, that is regionally accredited (very important), then finish it with the highest GPA that you can.

Bonus tips:

11) Choose an RA school. Make sure the school you choose is RA (regionally accredited). Don’t pick a school claiming any other kind of accreditation. Choosing a regionally accredited school leaves the door open for you to attend grad school. Non-regionally accredited schools are often, though not always, degree mills, and grad schools won’t accept your degree unless it is from an RA school. I’ve also seen some job postings that specifically ask for applicants who have degrees from RA schools.

12) Disability services. If you have any kind of disability, use the disability services/accommodations at your school. Similar to #4, don’t let pride get in the way of getting the assistance you need to finish your degree. Your degree will have the same value as somebody else who did not need disability services.

I am living proof that it is never too late. I started right out of high school in 1984 and graduated in September 2016 with a degree in accounting. You can do it too! If you always wanted a degree but struggled, I hope these tips help. You deserve to pursue your dream!

Catholic/Protestant Dictionary

There were many steps involved in becoming Catholic. I found that theology was only one of those steps. As I’ve mentioned before, Catholic culture was an unexpected and rather large hurdle.

Our_Mother_of_Perpetual_Help
Catholic art and culture intimidated me at first.

Maybe I already told this story. I’m not sure, but if so, please indulge me for a moment. Catholic culture is a very real thing, and I first discovered this when I attended a Catholic conference several years ago, before I converted. Many vendors were selling all sorts of Catholic artwork that was very ornate and elaborate. Many of them had images of Mary and other saints. All of these things were difficult to get past in my mind. The closest Protestant equivalent is a Christian bookstore that sells gifts and artwork, and even then it’s just different.

I finally realized that this was just the cultural part of Catholicism–it was not dogmatic. In other words, there was no requirement for me to display Catholic art in my home as a step to becoming Catholic. It was a big relief for me to realize that. I wish somebody had explained it to me though. Unfortunately, I had to figure it out on my own. I am not sure why that is.

Even so, there is a cultural transition. Part of it has to do with Catholic words, phrases and ideas. Many Catholic terms sounded very foreign to my ears… but only at first. At some point I realized that the terms only sounded foreign—the ideas behind them were not foreign at all. Here is a chart I made that is sort of like a Catholic to Protestant Dictionary. It is amazing how many Catholic ideas reside in Protestantism. But of course all that makes sense to me now, since Protestantism has its theological and historical origins in Catholicism.

catholic-protestant-dictionary

I take credit for some of these, since I genuinely figured them out on my own. But I got a few of them from Mark Shea, and a number of others from the Coming Home Network forum. So I’m not alone in making these kinds of observations. Other converts have as well. And just to be clear: I am not saying that there is 100% equivalence between the every item on this list. In some cases there is, but in other cases there is not. Even when there is not, they are close enough to convey the meaning.

I hope this chart helps Catholics and Protestants understand each other better.

*For elaboration on the confirmation/baptism equivalence, see here. For elaboration on the merit/reward equivalence, see here.

Today’s Version of the Cathar Heresy

There’s nothing new under the sun.

The Five Beasts

The Chateau de Montsegur, a Cathar stronghold The Chateau de Montsegur, a Cathar stronghold

Catharism was a dualist heresy that swept through Latin Christendom during the High Middle Ages; its growing popularity alarmed Church authorities. It was called by many names (the Catholic Encyclopedia lists twenty-two) but historians prefer to refer to them collectively as Cathars (“pure ones”, or “puritans”). They believed the physical world was the creation of the evil God of the Old Testament and the spiritual world was formed by the God of the New Testament. It was just the latest version of the recurrent dualist heresies like Gnosticism and Manichaeism, but also resembles elements in contemporary secular society in disturbing ways.

This heresy’s primary requirement was the repudiation of marriage and family. Since the evil physical body was only meant to entrap spirits, marriage and procreation were forbidden. Their spirit-liberating ritual known as consolamentum, similar to the Catholic Last Rites, would be denied to children and pregnant women. Their distain for the human body was so extreme…

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The holidays are hard

The holidays: that time of year when my heart feels like it’s going through a meat grinder. All the divisions get magnified and concentrated. It’s been this way since I was a child. If I was rich, I’d take an annual cruise from mid-November until after the New Year just to escape it all, and bring any family member with me who would want to go.

Every Thanksgiving and Christmas brings up feelings of dread, without fail. The only thing I ever really wanted, I never got. All I wanted was for my family to be together. MY FAMILY. The “just get over it” rhetoric never worked for me. Maybe it should have, but it didn’t because believe me, I tried. It was, however, very effective at getting me to shut up and ignore how I really felt. That’s not healthy at all.

I am not looking forward to these holidays. They are like a magnifying glass as to how dismembered and shattered my family is and always has been. It never stops hurting and the holidays make it worse.

If this makes you feel uncomfortable, then I’d ask you to look inside yourself and think about why that may be. Is there a child of divorce in your life that you’ve been overlooking? Does a child in your life who has to give up their unified home so that you can feel comfortable? Does a child in your life have to pretend that half of themselves does not exist so that you get to have the experience of being a parent? Is there a child in your life who acts like all is well, yet after reading my blog you have reason to believe otherwise? What incentives does the child in your life have to telling the truth about how things really are? If the child in your life was honest, and if that honesty rocked the world you created for yourself, would you get angry?