The Wolves

lion witch wardrobeSetting: My son Joel’s bedroom. About 9:30 pm on a Wednesday night. I’m there to tuck him in. He’s been in bed for at least 15 minutes before I get there.

Joel: I can’t stop thinking about the wolves.

Mom: What wolves?

Joel: The wolves in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I keep thinking about them chasing me and attacking me.

Mom, pensively: Hmmmm.

I’m wondering how to help him over this. I remember being that age, when things like this are very real. I spend several minutes thinking about it, to no avail. I decide to “go fishing,” to ask him questions and see if his answers can help me help him.

Mom: How do we make the wolves go away? What can we do?

Joel: I don’t know. I just want them to disappear.

A swing and a miss. Spending more time thinking about it, an idea springs to mind:

Mom: Is my love stronger than the wolves?

This is an honest question: I do not know what is true for him. I want him to answer honestly.

Joel: Yes.

This is spoken without hesitation. Slightly puzzled, I proceed:

Mom: Is Daddy’s love stronger than the wolves?

Joel: Yes.

Again, spoken without hesitation. I need to know if this is his truth, or if he’s just telling me what he thinks I want to hear.

Mom: Are you sure?

This time he looks puzzled.

Joel: Yes.

Inside, I hope he’s told me the truth, because if he has, I’ve found the key.

Mom, with determination: Ok, I want you to remember something: love is stronger than the wolves. Love always wins against hate, because love is stronger. It always wins. Always. Can you remember that?

He nods his head and sets it on the pillow. I wait by his side, my hand on his arm. Without saying another word, he’s asleep within five minutes, and stays in bed all night. Next morning….

Mom: So, how did you sleep?

Joel, smiling: Fine.

Mom: What happened to the wolves?

Joel, puzzled: What?

Mom: The wolves. Remember, last night?

Joel, still smiling: Oh yea! They went away.

Mom: Wow! That’s pretty cool, isn’t it Joel?

Joel nods his head, still smiling. I say a silent prayer of gratitude. The wolves have never returned.

[Note: I don’t remember exactly when this happened. It probably happened a year or two before 2006, which was when I wrote this.]

I wish I had a dad

According to my analytics, last week somebody found my blog by searching for the phrase, “I wish I had a dad.” I haven’t written on that exact topic, so I searched for that phrase to see where my blog appeared, and which post appeared, in the results. I couldn’t find it, but while scanning it became clear to me that a lot of others have written on that exact topic.

If by some chance you are here because you were searching for that phrase, and you wished you had a dad, let me offer this little bit of information and hopefully comfort to you.

1) You aren’t alone. A lot of people wish they had a dad.

2) It’s not your fault that you don’t have a dad.

3) Our culture believes that the definition of freedom includes having the State annul familial obligations whenever adults want. So part of the reason you don’t have a dad is because our culture was more concerned about your dad’s freedom (from you and your other parent) than your feelings about him, and your legitimate need for him.

4) If you don’t have a dad because you were donor conceived, then it’s also true that our culture is more concerned about your mom’s ability to choose how to reproduce than what those choices do to you, your long term prospects, and your feelings.

I say things as plainly as I can because I don’t want to be misunderstood. But I also hope for something else:

It doesn’t have to be that way for future generations. YOU can be part of the change. You can tell your story and speak out so that others don’t choose to do to their children what was done to you. If enough people speak out, then laws can be changed so that these injustices aren’t condoned by the State. The adults around you failed in their duties, but the State and the wider culture has a large part of the blame. When the State annuls people’s familial obligations without cause, it is acting unjustly and outside of its authority.

5) If you are grieving alone because you don’t have a dad, then you may be experiencing disenfranchised grief. This is grief that is not acknowledged or accepted by the wider culture. As a way to be part of a community who understands you, you might want to consider publishing your story online for others to read. It will help you see that you’re not alone, and there is a small movement afoot that calls attention to the injustice you are facing. If you want to tell your story, there are a couple of websites that want to hear what you have to say. They will publish your story, anonymously if you prefer:

  • Donor conceived people can do that here.
  • Others without dads can do that here (single mom by choice, kids harmed by divorce and/or parental alienation, kids in gay households, etc).

Finally, it is OK to put your mother and your father together in your heart and your mind. Your mom and your dad are each half of who you are. Speaking for myself, I fully acknowledge the legitimacy of that family triad, YOU, your mother and your father. Even if you don’t know what your dad looks like, that’s OK. He’s there in you, along with your mom. That is real because it is YOU. You don’t have to tell anybody that you’ve done this. But if you do tell somebody and they don’t agree, just remind that that this is your choice. Everybody else gets a choice, right? So do you. I think that part of the healing process includes letting ourselves acknowledge this, because it is truth.

holy family

“Why did you have me, Mummy?”

The sort of situation that appears below demonstrates how the pro-choice worldview means that a particular position within the family is more important than the person who occupies that position. I first noticed this dynamic while watching the movie October Baby a few years ago. But let me explain using the post that appears below as an example.

I am not sure that the daughter’s question was properly addressed. The daughter may have been asking, “Why did you have ME?” Not, “Why did you HAVE me?”

“Pro-choice” in the story below means that there is a child who occupies the first position in the family, due mother’s “choice” to have such a position available. The position matters more than the particular child who occupies it. Here’s why I can say this: the third child was aborted because the third position in the family was unwanted. If the first child had occupied that third position, she would have been aborted without remorse or regret.

That she is alive now is a total dice roll, and I can’t help but wonder if she intuits this.

The Jar Belles

“Why did you have me, Mummy?” Well, there’s the million dollar question. I have just tried to explain the pro-choice demonstration I’m going on to my seven year old daughter. I’ve attempted, in the past, to answer her questions about procreation as simply and truthfully as possible, but I know I’ve fallen short. There are things she doesn’t understand. Her question is a good one though. If I am going to stand outside the Polish embassy and yell at the top of my voice that women have a fundamental right to choose whether to carry a child to term, then why did I, still at uni, much too young, and not the most maternal person, have her?

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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:

Deep Impact is on Amazon Prime

About three weeks ago I wrote about Deep Impact’s interesting subplot about divorce and remarriage. I had to edit the post a bit today since the videos I linked had been taken down. Luckily I found new clips to use. Plus I made a few changes to the content, but didn’t change it in a substantial way.

However, after editing it, I realized that I didn’t mention how I found it. It’s on Amazon Prime. So here is a link to it if you’d like to see it:

Deep Impact on Amazon Prime

Seven times I was forced to abandon one family and start a new one, thanks to “choice” rhetoric

My childhood was very chaotic. After my parents’ divorce, I was forced to abandon one family and start a new seven times before I was 23:

  • First family: my mom, dad, and me
  • Second family: post divorce, still my mom, my dad, and me but living in two homes; my two parents are single
  • Third family: my mother remarries; my dad is single
  • Forth family: my father remarries; both parents are now remarried
  • Fifth family: my father divorces; he is single again; my mother is still married
  • Sixth family: my father remarries again; both parents are remarried
  • Seventh family: my father and his third wife separate; he is single again and my mother is married

Seven different family structures before I was 23 years old.  Just wanted to share that.

 

How abortion and no-fault divorce are similar

One strategic mistake my side of the debate has made is to ignore the divorce issue. The top leadership on my side almost totally ignores it, and I find this not only discouraging, but logically problematic. They just leap over it as if it wasn’t there. I mentioned this before when I wrote about the conservative preference for the children of gays.

Let me distill it as well as I can. Here is how the two issues are related:

Abortion is like no-fault divorce in that the State annuls people’s familial obligations to others who are legally innocent. In both processes, the State has failed to provide any legal means to defend against the process. The process happens at the behest of one party (Party A: petitioner in a no-fault divorce action; woman seeking an abortion) who claims that the process is needed to secure their “liberty” from the other party (Party B: respondent in a no-fault divorce action; unborn child). Party B has no legal means or protection to stop the process. The State sides with Party A 100% of the time, to either actively enforce the action (divorce) or let it happen (abortion).

This is one reason why I say that the leadership on my side of the debate is not logically consistent. We can’t expect to succeed if we ignore the more entrenched foe.

See also:

Understanding the “blended family” dynamic with diagrams

About four years ago I stumbled across a book called, Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don’t Work, by Dan Roam. It sounded good so I bought one for my Kindle. This is the book that gave me confidence to start drawing what I saw in order to share it with others. So if you’re ever having trouble making your point, about anything at all, check out the book. It will give you ideas for how to make it in a new way.

I just wanted to give the book a shout out, since it has helped me.

Here is a diagram I just drew that sheds light on the post from the yesterday.

blended-family-eight-parents

The blue circle represents the “blended family” from yesterday. As you can see, there might be quite a few other people who are exerting pressure and influence on that family. And this is just one configuration–others are possible.

Let’s locate our author from yesterday. She’s inside the red circle:

blended-family-eight-parents-author-from-yesterday

Now we can see that her dad and her mom are divorced, and her dad is married to her step mom. Let’s locate her step sisters. They are across from her in the green circle:

blended-family-eight-parents-step-sisters

From their perspective, we can see that their mom is divorced from their dad, and she is married to their step dad.

Let me make it clear that regarding the post from yesterday, I have no information other than what she shared. I don’t know what went on there. I don’t know if the non-resident parents in her life remarried. I’m just using it as an opportunity to show how diagrams can shed light on these situations.

Look at all that chaos. Even if we were to redraw it so that the non-resident parents never remarry, that’s a lot of chaos. Their remarriages only add to it, and not just for them but for the new step siblings.

She described her step-sisters in a pretty negative light. I imagined myself as her step-sister, and I could relate to the way she described all of them. I resented that others were spending more time with my dad than I was; that he was doing fun and interesting things with them that he wasn’t doing with me because I wasn’t there full time; that I felt like an outsider in my dad’s home, and on and on and on. I can’t help but wonder if there were other things going on in her step-sisters lives that made them act that way.

I also think that all of us, kids and adults, are blinded by “kids are resilient” and “they just get over it,” two false ideas that are completely accepted as true. As long as people are being guided by those false ideas, they’re going to assume things about kids in those arrangements that may not be true, or may be only a partial truth.

Let’s consider something else: this diagram shows how a divorced parent on the far left side can exert an influence across the entire diagram, even to step siblings on the far right side. Let’s say, for example, that the mom on the far left is an alcoholic. This influences her children, who in turn influence their dad and their step siblings, who in turn influence those parents and step siblings, and so on. The effect reminds me of how longitudinal waves travel. This explains why kids feel stretched between their parents, but also like a buffer between them. I may have to draw a new diagram to show this effect. I drew it the way I did to show how triads get fractured in order to accommodate adult sexual liberty.

Divorce and remarriage are a mess for the kids. Divorce is bad enough, but remarriages are truly chaotic for kids. I’ve previously described it as torture and I hope this post sheds more light on that characterization.

One Ph.D. gets it: “Children who are bounced from home to home have no true home”

Just found this, from SteamboatToday.com. It is a fictional account of what it is like to live as a child of divorce, by Chris Drake, Ph.D.:

…After going back and forth from Dad’s house to Mom’s house, I began to feel like I had no real home. I had trouble knowing where my stuff for school and sports was. It seemed like I had to make all the changes, even though I hadn’t divorced my parents. Why couldn’t they let me stay in one house and they move in and out for a week at a time?

No one asked me if my mom or dad spent more time with me before the divorce. No one asked me how I felt toward each of them and how much I trusted each of my parents. No one asked me if I’d feel better living more with my mom or my dad. No one asked me if I even felt safe. The judge decided how and where I would live for the rest of my childhood.

…Children who are bounced from home to home have no true home…

Thank you, Dr. Drake. Read the whole thing here.

Foo Fighters’ anthem for the kids of divorce

The Pretender by the Foo Fighters might make a good anthem for the kids of divorce. Not only are the lyrics great, but the imagery of the menacing cops reminds me of how in divorce, the state invades the home to destroy families without anybody doing anything wrong at the invitation of one spouse. Seriously–a spouse who doesn’t want a divorce could go to jail for resisting. Divorces are enforced by the government 100% of the time, even if you did nothing wrong. The state takes sides against legally innocent spouses in every case, by design.  And if you’re the child, doctors will drug you to get you to go to along with the re-education program of denying that your first family matters. As far as this video is concerned, we just need to add a cadre of PhDs in the background claiming that what the cops are doing is OK because they can clean up the mess after it’s all over… for a cut of the marital assets.

Lyrics available here.