Friday, August 29, 2008

Tune in

I'll be doing a 45 minute live radio interview with Neil Boron of WDCX FM in the Buffalo, New York/Toronto area this coming Tuesday, September 2, from 3:15 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. You can listen to the program streaming live over the Internet at We'll be talking about the book, so tune in to listen.

Later in the month, I'll be doing a 25 minute live radio interview with WWJC in Duluth, Minnesota. That interview is scheduled for 10:05 to 10:30 a.m. on September 25th and should be available by live stream on

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sibling squabbles

Yesterday's Washington Post reported that Cindy McCain has two half-sisters, one of whom is upset that Mrs. McCain talks about herself as an only child. Then, Vanity Fair in Italy broke news that Senator Obama has a half brother who lives in poverty in Kenya.

The implication in both cases seems to be that we should blame the famous half siblings for something, but is that really fair? Who knows what bad blood has passed between Mrs. McCain and her half sister, but I would guess that the half sister's rage is really toward her father who abruptly and without explanation cut her and her children out of an inheritance they apparently expected. Senator Obama has only met his half brother twice. Neither of them ever lived with their half siblings.

I blogged some time ago on the distinctions that children of divorce often make between family relationships. It's not surprising to me that Mrs. McCain and Senator Obama feel disconnected from people who share a parent and little else with them. Mrs. McCain's half sister expressed anger at hearing the Senator's wife describe herself as an "only child," and if she said she was the only child of her father, I can understand the half sister's dismay; but what if she said she was the only child of her father and mother? Another story altogether.

Ah, the complications that divorce brings into our lives!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's a dad to do?

Did you notice all the moms at this year's Olympics? This writer did:

Indeed, the number of superior male athletes at the Olympics who look to their mother, as opposed to their father, for inspiration is astonishing. Basketball superstar LeBron James was raised alone by his mother Gloria to whom he remains especially devoted. Jamaican uber-sprinter Usain Bolt ran straight to his mother Jennifer's arms after breaking the world record in the 100 meter dash and becoming the fastest man alive. America's best male sprinter, Tyson Gay, is so close to his mother Daisy that he phones her every day and especially an hour before he races to help calm his nerves. The list goes on.

Leading him to ask, are men necessary? Maureen Dowd asked that in a recent book title. Boteach's conclusion, however:

And then I remembered. Yes, there was one big thing. I alone could love their mother. That was not something she could do on her own. I could teach my children by means of living example the glories of devotion to a special woman who sacrifices so much on all of our behalf. I could show my children that love was not a fantasy concocted in Hollywood or invented in a novel. I alone could demonstrate to my children that their mother was precious and that love was real. No one could do this but me. I was necessary after all, as was every other father and husband.

In other words, the greatest gift a man gives his children is to love their mother. By doing so, he imparts the lesson that there are things in life more glittering than gold and more precious than rubies.

A mother's response

This is a perfect follow up to the article I just posted:

I won’t sit back, though, and let this ruin me. But I will look at my children every day for the rest of my life, and see the pain and hurt their father caused by walking out. The distrust, anger, and pain that this has carved in their life will never be erased. How can I be so sure? I was the child of a divorce. This is not something a child gets over. Divorce is something children learn to live with because their parents have given them no choice.

My ex asked me during the whole separation process, “Do you really think the kids want me stay married and be unhappy?”

Um. Yeah. I do. It’s called love: unconditional, selfless, pure love. This is a value that is slowly diminishing in our society.

Someone should be committed

With all due respect to this columnist, he has missed the point. Apparenty, in an earlier column Neil the columnist advised a man to leave his wife. A reader offered this protest:

This life is not all about you. Your happiness is not the center of the known universe. This man has three children, a wife and I imagine friends and extended family who will also be fractured from this, and all you talked to him about is his happiness. Do you think children or young adults will be happier because one parent decides to pursue their own happiness?

Unmoved, Neil the columnist responds:

No, I would argue that couples, even couples with children, should not stay together if they are psychologically divorced — or if one of them is. It’s too cold an environment to bring kids up in, and it’s unhealthy for everyone involved. Few marriages are made in heaven, but no one should have to tolerate hell forever.

What Neil fails to realize is that the end of an unhappy marriage for the person who feels trapped in it may feel like an escape from hell for him or her, but it is really just the beginning of hell for the kids whose lives will never be the same. And, can't you just imagine this conversation: "Kids, as you know, I psychologically divorced your mother five years ago." Huh?

Now, try imagining this conversation between a father and his adult child: "Son, marriage with your mother has been difficult and not at all what I expected. Still, I made a commitment to her and to you kids and no matter how difficult things were, no matter how much I was tempted to think that I might be happier if I left, I couldn't do that to you all. I love you and I want you to know that commitments are important and you are important. It's important to stand by your commitments, Son, even when they are difficult to follow through on."

Hmm. That's probably just too crazy to imagine.

Dropping the ball

Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and his wife Karen filed for divorce this summer. The couple has 3 young daughters, ages 3, 6, and 8.

HT: Catherine Larson, wife of famous Red Sox fan Mark Larson

Now you see Dad, now you don't

Children of divorce sometimes talk about having to be selective in their memories, parsing out the stories of vacations and holidays and fun times depending on which parent they are with at the moment and which parent was or was not a participant in the original festivities. We lose something of ourselves by having to carefully edit our speech. Now it seems, we're in danger of having our visual memories edited for the comfort and convenience of others as well.

Idealized images, she said, can give people “a new script for dealing with problems families have always had: family members who don’t get along, divorce.”

“If you can’t have the perfect family,” she added, “at least you can Photoshop it.”
HT: Gina Dalfonso

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Top 10 list for the book release

Well, the day has finally come and my book, Child of Divorce, Child of God: A Journey of Hope and Healing, is about to hit a bookshelf near you! I am so inexpressibly grateful to the many people who have supported me and encouraged me through this process. As the official release date (September 1) draws near, I wanted to let you know of some final ways that you can help. With a nod to David Letterman and to Jen Abbas de Jong (from whom I stole some of these ideas), here are the top 10 ways you can help make this book launch a success:
10. Buy the book! It’s available online at Amazon, Parable, Christian Book Distributors (CBD), Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, Target, and Lifeway Christian Stores to list a few.
9. Ask your local book stores to carry a copy.
8. Ask your library to carry a copy. Don’t forget your church library.
7. Tell others about the book. Some suggestions: adult children of divorce, parents who are divorced, your pastor, anyone who ministers to young adults, Christian counselors, local Divorce Care or Divorce Care for Kids leaders.
6. If you have any contacts with local media who might want to run a review, write an article, or do an interview with me, please tell them the about the book.
5. I’m willing to travel as needed (and as my budget allows), so if your church or a group you are involved in would like to have me come and speak for a special event, I’d be happy to do so (and even happier, for those out of town events, if the group will pay my travel expenses); I’m also happy to do book signings. (Note to my Illinois friends: I’ll be in IL for a wedding in mid-October.)
4. Write a review of the book on any of the online retailer sites.
3. If you’re part of a book club that reads nonfiction, suggest Child of Divorce, Child of God.
2. Consider buying extra copies of the book and giving them out to children of divorce, pastors, counselors or others who might be interested.
1. And the number one way you can make this book launch a success…PRAY! Please pray with me that this book will make it into the hands of many hurting individuals and that they will find the hope and healing that only comes through Jesus Christ!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Books are here!

After a long absence from the blogosphere--during which my wonderful parents spent two weeks doing back-breaking labor, painting and installing laminate flooring at my house, not to mention hanging new lights, replacing bad outlets, making snacks at the most opportune times, and conducting a neighborhood seminar on the poisonous plants of northern Virginia--I am excited to report that a small stack of my books is sitting next to me as I type this! My author's copies arrived on the FedEx truck today, rescuing what was otherwise a very stressful and frustrating Monday.

I sent out emails today offering to speak at several local church-based divorce support groups. If you'd like me to speak at a gathering, do a booksigning, or do a Q&A or guest column on your blog, contact me through the link in my blogger profile.

You can now read an excerpt of the book on Amazon, so go check it out! (See the link to the right.)