By Alan Freed
My “little” sister recently turned 60. On the occasion of this milestone birthday, she came up with a short list of pearls of wisdom she has gathered through the years. That list includes some very important lessons she has learned from going through a divorce and being a parent. With her permission, here they are, with a few editorial comments (naturally) from her big brother:
1. Rather than being a dedicated employee, be a dedicated parent. Children need their parents’ time more than they need your money.
This, of course, is easier said than done. It’s hard to spare time for the kids when you are having a tough time putting groceries on the table. Still, finding even a few minutes to remind them of your love, whether that comes in the form of reading a book, playing a game, helping with homework, giving them praise or a kind word, or just hugging them, can pay invaluable dividends.
2. Teach sons to be good husbands. It will serve them well, regardless of whether they ever marry.
My sister has twin boys, whom she raised pretty much single-handedly from the time they were eight months old. They are terrific young men, each one the kind of guy you’d be glad to have as your son-in-law. She knows what she’s talking about.
3. Listen to others with the intent to hear what is being said, not as time to formulate what you’ll say back.
This is good advice for everyone (even, or maybe especially, for lawyers, parents, and ex-spouses).
4. Parents of divorce: Never throw darts at your ex. They go through your child’s heart.
If you are a parent (you don’t have to be divorced, by the way) and you learn nothing else from this blog post, please sear these words in your memory and remind yourself of them every time your ex-husband is late with his payment or your ex-wife refuses to give you extra time with the kids or you get stuck at home while your spouse is delayed at the office. Your kids want desperately to have two parents they can love. Don’t mess that up for them.
5. Laugh. Always laugh.
We could all use more of this.
For a consultation with an attorney on any family law matter, please contact one of the attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.