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Thursday, 3 November 2011

What About The Children?

A couple sit beside each other, facing a class teacher on the opposite side of the table. Their body language couldn't be any more strained, shoulders and legs facing away from one another. During this particular parents evening they calmly announce that they are getting a divorce, and go out of their way to say that "The children won't suffer"
Four words. Just four. I wonder if it is even possible for a human being to say anything more idiotic?
The children always suffer. Often horribly, terribly, and over an extended period. If floundering parents can be honest about nothing else they should at least be honest about that. A mummy and a daddy are the twin pillars on which a child rests; the stability that they gain from a stable, nurturing and loving family environment has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. So when those pillars crumble, to even contemplate saying something like the above is idiotic. The words are ugly because they are an affront to issues of child wellbeing, and surely indicative of gross immaturity on the part of those that would venture them? At the risk of incurring your wrath may I suggest that a good dose of reality is in order, along with an abandonment of many of the selfish impulses that may have fired us before? When we enter into relationships we must be aware that whilst we gain enormous amounts,it will also chip away at the edifice more commonly referred to as the self. We will, if we've any hope of success, have to accept that we won't be able to bring everything with us. Adjustment is essential, a re calibration of our expectations. And let's get the word selfish out of the way and accept that we need to lose some of that, too. And that's before children come along.
Seriously, if we can't manage this then please don't start a family, because when children begin to appear the erosion of the self starts anew. It has to, and if you expect to float along and maintain the equilibrium then cloud cuckoo land is your home.  I'm certain that selfishness and the unwillingness to re-calibrate is at the heart of many broken relationships. People  unable or unwilling to accept that some things have to give way; that they can't have their cake and eat it. I'm also certain that if people were less self serving then fewer relationships would fail, and more children would be raised in stable and loving homes. The thought of not having ready access to my girls sends a cold shudder through me,  and I've seen what it does to people who've endured this traumatic ordeal. It's still the kids that suffer most, though, because what you've robbed them of is something they can never get back. You've compromised their inner security, put their wellbeing in doubt, and sent out the message that what should be a place of refuge provides no real refuge at all.
Modern society is facing a holocaust of broken relationships, and broken children are being churned out into the world and causing the cycle to repeat.
As always, we as people have the power to change this. In our choices, in our expectations, in our willingness to accept that we can and must do better.
We owe it to our children, who did not ask to be born and had life thrust upon them. We need to be doing everything within our power to be cultivating the next generation of adults, and to ensure that the soil around them is moist, fertile, and not easily washed away.

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