WASHINGTON, July 26, 2016 – “Son, remember that in a divorce, the children are victims; it’s not their fault.” (Leona Randall)
Ten year old Amanda was flying unaccompanied across the United States. The passenger next to her noticed the empty seat between them, and asked if her parent was in the restroom.
“No,” said Amanda, “I’m flying alone on my way to visiting my mom.”
She then volunteered that her parents were going through a divorce.
Amanda has other siblings also impacted by divorce. She had two older stepbrothers, five and four at the time of the divorce, and a younger sister. As she flew across country, she told the other passenger she was living with her biological father, who was in the process of divorcing his second wife.
As she talked about the divorces, and about the fact that both her biological parents were from broken homes, Amanda began to weep quietly.
After she regained her composure, Amanda continued the conversation with the passenger. She said her best friend, Kaitlyn, was also from a broken home.
According to Amanda, Kaitlyn’s dad left her mother the day after she was born. Kaitlyn told Amanda she had spoken to her father once on the phone, but that she has never met him. Amanda believes that divorce has affected their friendship, and said that Kaitlyn has strong mood swings that make her no fun to be around.
At times, Kaitlyn’s behavior even scares her.
Amanda said she is grateful that she and her biological mother talk on the phone each night, and that she visits her mom even though her dad has had custody of her since she was born. Amanda indicated, however, she is especially grieved because she has experienced a family break up twice.
When asked if she had any advice for other kids facing a family break up, Amanda said:
- Don’t think thoughts of hurting yourself.
- You will find yourself crying; it does hurt!
- Keep thinking about them; pray for them.
- It will be OK; the parent is still close to your heart.
Amanda had suggestions for families that may work to keep them together instead of breaking up:
- Go places together as a family.
- Work together whenever possible.
- Forgive your family members; avoid the drama.
- Talk things out; don’t hold negative feelings inside.
- Parents need to think about how much it will hurt their children.
It is absolutely amazing how much wisdom can come from a ten-year old child. Amanda’s feedback and advice was better than that of most adults absorbed in self-centeredness.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if grown-ups, reading the aforementioned, take heed to her advice and have the compassion to think about all lives impacted by their decisions.
Bill Randall is a contributing writer, and a retired U.S. Navy Command Master Chief.