I know the whole Jon and Kate thing is old news, but this post has been brewing in my head for weeks now, so I just need to write it down so I have room for something else in there. (Like, what's for dinner.) :-)
This week, I worked with several hurt kids. Recently, circumstances among various friends and acquaintances have brought this post to the forefront of my mind again. I've worked with kids of all ages for 20 years now, and I've seen the same thing over and over again. It makes me sick to my stomach. Things are chugging along in their lives just fine. Then - WHAM! - Dad and Mom are splitting up. Their world spins out of control. They are angry, confused, sad, hurt, and scared. There are no words to comfort them. Only hugs and tears and prayers...
Before I really begin, I am not bashing divorced people. My heart breaks for those who have had their lives torn apart by divorce. I know that most people do not split up because of minor disagreements. I know that serious issues need serious commitment from all parties in order to be resolved - and even then, some marriages can not be saved. In those cases, divorce happens.
If you are already divorced, it is not my intention to make you feel guilty or hopeless for your kids. God has a way of healing us and using our past to help others. But the truth remains.
This one thing, I know. Whether people are on the giving or receiving end of the proceedings, divorce hurts everyone involved. That's why God hates divorce. Divorce hurts people.
But more specifically, divorce hurts children.
As an advocate and a voice for the weakest, most vulnerable members of society, I need to speak the truth, even if it is not popular.
I'm not much of a reality TV fan (except Nanny 911 - but that is another post.) However, I really liked to watch Jon and Kate Plus Eight. I started watching it last year and tried to catch it whenever I had the chance. Now that Daddy and I are outnumbered 2 to 1, I was fascinated by the organization and simplicity of that household. I liked both Jon and Kate, and the kids were just so precious. I didn't see many episodes, but I did catch the one where they renewed their wedding vows in front of their children in Hawaii...
When things reportedly went south in their marriage, I stopped watching. I didn't want to contribute to the delinquency of a marriage. I know most of our culture has a National Enquirer mentality about these things. We gawk at the wreckage and look some more to see what the next awful, juicy bit of news will be.
I see things differently. I want to hide my eyes from the pain. I grieve over the wreckage. I see eight bewildered kids who will soon be in a world of hurt. I see two hurting adults whose trust has been betrayed publicly.
I was sad for them. I prayed for their marriage. I can't imagine the pressure of living in a fishbowl during such a stressful time.
So when the big show aired, I couldn't watch. The next day, I skimmed through the transcripts. One thing jumped out at me. Both Jon and Kate said something to the effect, "I just want what's best for my kids...."
Divorce is not what is best for your kids.
It may be what you think is best for you right now. You may think it is the only way out. You may be so hurt, you can't see straight. Maybe you didn't ask for this and you are an innocent victim.
But let's get this straight. Divorce is not best for the kids. Divorce is traumatic for kids. It hurts them deeply, no matter their age. They may appear to roll with the punches, but I promise you, they will struggle with trust and commitment the rest of their lives.
Divorce is trauma.
What is best for your kids is to see Mom and Dad disagree and reconcile with a firm commitment to resolving all outstanding issues. They need to see apologies and forgiveness. They need to see Dad and Mom do whatever it takes to stay in the game.
When kids see this, they are much better equipped to enter marriage someday themselves. Kids are much happier, healthier, and secure when Mom and Dad work through their problems.
I know I have not walked a mile in their shoes, but I've walked a hard mile. I know that with commitment and a willingness to change the way we do things, transformation can happen and relationships can be mended.
Blessings to you,
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