I have written plenty about what parents do during divorce that negatively impacts their children. So I am delighted to give you some input about, and a wonderful example of, putting children first in spite of the parent’s divorce.
Judge Robert Davis shared an anecdote a few years back that left me feeling compelled to share it with every custody-battling parent and warring stepparent I have encountered since. Judge Davis was sitting in a high school auditorium. He was applauding the graduating class in the small town where he had lived and been a Family Law attorney prior to being appointed to the bench. He looked around and saw numerous former clients. Some were clustered in groups with the mom, her current spouse and family, and the dad with his current spouse and family. Others still exuded the animosity that was present during their actual divorce and sat, with their current spouses and families, on opposite sides of the auditorium. He said after each student received their diploma, they stepped down from the platform and scanned the audience. Those whose families were clustered together headed right over to the applauding loved ones. Those whose parents were separated by self-focus and distance stood uncertainly, a sudden damper on their big day, and tried to figure out which group to walk to first. With no words spoken they were being asked to pick a parent. Some could not, and instead walked straight to the familiar smile of Judge Davis.
With the same spirit as the family groups clustered together, one man recently provided a shining example of a parent who really gets it. Todd Bachman was all set to walk his precious daughter, Brittany, down the aisle to give her away to her future husband. But before taking his daughter’s arm, he grabbed the hand of her astonished stepfather, a man Todd generally didn’t get along with, and pulled the man toward Brittany. Todd told the stepdad that he, too, had participated in raising the bride and he should participate in giving away “their” daughter. According to photographer Delia Blackburn, who took the pictures below, there were a lot of moist eyes – including her own!
There was also a lot of moist eyes during the Today Show coverage of the event. To hear their two minute coverage of this heart-warming story and see some Today Show hosts passing the Kleenex, click HERE.
If you are a divorced parent, it’s not to soon to be thinking about how you can make it easy for your child to decide which direction to head toward on his or her special day.