Monday, September 24, 2007

Still together

From an article in the Lexington Herald-Reader on DivorceCare and Divorce Recovery workshops:

Although he found inspiration for helping the divorced in his parents' split, Stillwell has found inspiration in the workshops for keeping his own marriage healthy. And he's proof that children of divorced couples can have meaningful relationships as adults.

Stillwell and his wife, Vivian, will celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary in December. Stillwell also will lead the church's marriage retreat in October.

"The most significant anniversary to me personally was when we reached our 23rd anniversary," he said. "I breathed a big sigh of relief when I realized it was possible to stay married longer than did my parents, who divorced after 23 years. I reminded myself that we have a lot of strength, a lot of resources, that my parents did not have."

He admits that his own marriage has had "some tough times" and that they turned to others for support.

"There really are two kinds of people in relationships -- those who admit that they go through cycles of tough times and people who are not telling the truth," he said. "We hope we can model for others the truthfulness of making marriage work by applying the principles I teach with others."

Magical worlds

I read the first Harry Potter book and decided I wasn't a Potter fan. But my friend Lori is one. Having just returned from a trip to Ohio where she picked up a beautiful young Lab, Bess, from the same place my baby dog will hopefully be coming from later this year, Lori sent me this email today:

I was listening to the latest Harry Potter book on CD on my drive to Ohio,and it hit me -- there's more than one way in which Harry Potter's world is magical. There's no divorce. In the wizarding world, there's death and evil, but no divorce, at least that I can remember. Interesting, huh?

Very interesting, indeed. Can we wave a wand and make it disappear in our world now?

Focus on home

Jim Daly, who is taking over the reins of Focus on the Family from Jim Dobson, has an excerpt from his autobiographical book Finding Home in this month's newsletter. Daly tells a heart-wrenching story of growing up amid divorce, alcoholism, death, and abandonment. While Jim and Shirley Dobson have been a wonderful Ozzie and Harriet kind of example of marriage and family, it's rather nice and fitting that his successor is someone who has experienced a more difficult journey and found God's peace and joy despite a less-than-storybook upbringing.

(Hat tip to Karen.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Coming soon

Child of Divorce, Child of God: A Journey of Hope and Healing

My publisher (InterVarsity Press) finalized the title today. Look for it in 2008 in a bookstore near you!

More on the American Girl doll

Well, poor Julie certainly has a lot on her plate. An article in the New York Daily News quotes the author of Julie's back story:
"I was trying to think of a way to introduce the idea of a deep division in the country, and realized that I could use divorce as a metaphor to reflect [in Julie's own family] what was happening on a larger scale in the country. By portraying Julie as being from a divorced family, the division in her family reflects the division in the country and Julie becomes central as the character who is trying to heal her family from the pain and struggle of divorce." [emphasis mine]

That's a tall order for a 9 year old, even if she is an American doll fictional character.

Generation gap

Writing in the London Times Online, Daisy Goodwin recalls her childhood...
In one house we drank coffee, went to bed at eight sharp and always had clean socks; at the other we drank tea, put ourselves to bed when we felt like it and had bare feet. In one house the bed was always made, in the other it was a mass of rumpled sheets with sand at the bottom. Capital radio was forbidden in one house, Elvis was compulsory in the other.
...and how it has affected her:

The circumstances of my childhood have made me adaptable, resourceful and emotionally intelligent, true, but I am also needy, insecure and unable to set boundaries. I have been clinically depressed.

However, the one thing I am not is divorced, because I know what divorce means. And the latest statistics suggest that I am not alone in this awareness.

She goes on to state that the biggest drop in divorce rates in the U.K. is in the generation that grew up as children of divorce.
Having been through one divorce, the children of broken homes have no desire to go through another. They realise, because their parents didn’t, that in Margaret Atwood’s words, “a divorce is like an amputation, you survive but there’s less of you”.

Reality bites

Oh, the sad, sad cynical world we live in where we have to give children realistic toys. Whatever happened to the Sunshine Family, I ask you? From Family Scholars blog comes the news that the American Girl doll company is releasing a divorced kid doll. Says Elizabeth Marquardt:

I predict a little media buzz over Julie the child of divorce doll. I also predict some tasteless jokes. (Does Julie come with two sets of accessories, one for dad’s house and one for mom’s? Does she have a miniature housekey slung around her neck? If you buy Julie does she stay at your house only half the time?...)

Here are some other great ideas for toymakers:
1. Remember playing "store" as a kid, especially if you had the little cash register? Well, now you can play "Wal-Mart comes to town and all the local businesses go bye-bye!"
2. Instead of "office," why not play a rousing game of "layoffs"?

And while we're at it, let's just pretend everything will be okay if you give little Suzy a doll who understands exactly what she's going through.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The good divorce on TV

From Reuters comes news of a new comedy series for NBC about a 30-something divorcing couple with kids who continue to live in the same home.

"In the untitled project, which has received a script commitment from the network, the divorcing couple -- a college professor moonlighting as a controversial political blogger, and his wife, who works at a private school and volunteers at a juvenile prison -- don't have enough money to separate right away, so the husband continues to live under the same roof with his wife and their two children, ages 14 and 8."

When parents date

Do you have a story (good or bad) about one of your parents dating either after a divorce or after being widowed? If so, I'd like to hear from you. Use the email link under "View my complete profile" in the "About Me" section of the sidebar to share your story. I'm looking for stories as well as your advice for parents who are dating again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Children of Danish Divorce

If you're in the NYC area in early November, you can catch a 1939 Danish film on children of divorce at Scandinavia House. Yes, those crazy Scandinavians and their penchant for being on the leading edge of social developments were 40 years ahead of Kramer vs. Kramer. I haven't seen this film, but if you have, or if you stop in to see it, let me know what you think. Here's a summary, courtesy of Life Is Carbon blog:

Children of Divorce (Skilsmissens Børn)Wednesday, November 7, 6:30 pm & Saturday, November 10, 3 pmDirected by Benjamin Christensen (1939). Marking director Benjamin Christensen’s career comeback (after an unsuccessful stint in Hollywood) and his first venture into sound film, Skilsmissens børn depicts the changing relationships between parents and their children in modern society. Wildly popular at the time of its release in 1939, this melodrama makes use of the bold lighting and unorthodox camera angles that distinguished Christensen’s earlier hits like Hemmelighedsfulde X (The Mysterious X) and Häxan (The Witches) as the work of an adventurous visual stylist.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Worst News

From Editor & Publisher:

As "For Better or For Worse" moved into "hybrid" mode this week with a look back at how Elly and John Patterson met, few readers of Lynn Johnston's partly autobiographical comic knew that her real-life husband left her this April.

I had noticed the change in the comic strip and wasn't a fan, to be honest. Actually, I've never been a huge fan of this strip. It's too often preachy or soap-operish, like Johnston is trying to write for the op-ed pages or publish a novel instead of entertain us for 5 seconds while we scan our way to the crossword puzzle. Isn't the whole point of the comics page that we need to laugh for a couple of minutes after reading all the morbid and depressing stuff in the rest of the paper? But Elly and John are one of the classic cartoon couples, like Dagwood and Blondie or Hagar and Helga, so I'm glad to hear that the break-up of Johnston's marriage will not mean the demise of John and Elly's cartoon marriage.

Never Forget

April 1991: View of Manhattan from the Empire State Building.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sign of the times

I had to stay up late last night to watch Fred Thompson announce his candidacy for President. Frankly, I'm relieved. Fred seems the most electable Republican out there and has been giving Rudy a run for his money even before last night's announcement. (Rudy is great, but too liberal for many conservatives and too New Yawk for the South; McCain is like a lovable, crazy old grandpa who says nutty stuff from time to time and makes us giggle, but I don't think enough people take him seriously; and Mitt has the whole Mormon thing, which continues to be an issue.) On the other side of the political aisle, Obama doesn't inspire confidence in me, I didn't like Edwards the last time around, and we've had enough of HillBilly in the White House even if her election would give Bill the chance to be a prettier Eleanor Roosevelt. Despite the ludicrously early start to this election cycle, there is still a lot of time for misstep, scandal, and whatnot, but for now at least I'm with Fred.

That said, I do find it a bit ironic that the top three Democratic candidates (Obama, HillBilly, and Edwards) are all on their first marriages, while three of the Republican frontrunners (Rudy, Fred, and McCain) are all on a 2nd or 3rd marriage, with only Mitt Romney, the resident Mormon, marrying just one wife.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

More on Parents of Divorce

From the New York Times:

THE breakup of the marriage brought Ina Chadwick heartache, guilt and financial hardship. The divorce, she said, tore away from her everything in her “Cinderella dream.”

But the divorce she so ruefully speaks about was her daughter’s, not her own.

For Parents of Divorce

An article on a new book out for people whose children are going through a divorce describes the book as one that "gives parents a five-stage guide through a child's divorce, from how to accept the news to how to refocus and rebuild, especially if the child eventually remarries."