Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Don't think divorce; don't speak divorce; don't divorce

I can't help but speak up about the topic of divorce.  It is a nasty topic and I feel the need to rinse my mouth to even speak the word.  But it is important to recognize the devastating effects of it in our culture today - so as to teach our children and those around us - so that we can save some soul from its heart-wrenching consequences.


First, I want to make a few things known.  I'm a Generation X-er ... we were the kids who suffered from our parents divorcing at astounding rates in the 1970s and 80s (think Kramer vs. Kramer).  And speaking of that movie ... I remember, as a kid, seeing parts of this movie and was absolutly horrified of it.

My parents did not divorce - they are married today and I praise them for being committed to each other.

One of my good friend's parents divorced when I was in 4th grade.  That experience even devastated me.

One of my relative's parents got a divorce when he was about 21 or so.

One of my good college friends was married for just a short period before he and his ex-wife divorced.

After my wife and I graduated from BYU and started our own family and career, we saw two families in our ward divorce - with small kids.  I still remember the first Sunday after the one couple separated.  The dad was sitting with the kids in the audience and the mom was leading the music.  Their little boy just cried for his mom every time she stood up.  It was heart-crushing to listen to that little plea from that boy.

And then, just last week, I hear another story from my wife about this woman she knows.  In the course of their conversation, this woman just flippantly said that she was considering divorce - apparently for no real good reason other than to just leave him!  My wife telling me this story is what has prompted me to write something about this topic.

But I ultimately decided not to ... until I came across another disturbing bit of information.

Sesame Street and Divorce

the positive spin: two houses
First off, take the time to read this article about how Sesame Street has handled the topic of divorce: "D Is for Divorce: Sesame Street Tackles Another Touchy Topic"  They first tried it back in 1992 - but that attempt failed miserably.

But now they've found a way to put a positive spin on the new topic.  Now kids can see the positive side of divorce as they watch the segment, but then get to try to figure out why it's not so positive when they actually have to live through it.

For what it's worth, Sesame Street did not air the divorce segment on TV; rather it is a segment that was produced only for their website.

What You Can Do

What can you do about divorce?  Stand up and tell people not to get a divorce if they are considering it - especially if they have kids.  This is what my wife did with her friend - she tried very enthusiastically to advise against divorce.  And this is the right thing to do when there is no serious and perpetual abuse.

Talk to your kids about it - tell them that divorce is not ok.  Tell them that marriage is serious and should be taken serioiusly.  It is not something to do and when the going gets rough it's time to bail.  No; it should take work and commitment.  It is precious and worth keeping.  It takes both the husband and wife to commit and step up.

The statistics are out there for those who want to know and to look.  You give your kids the best shot in life by being commited to your marriage.  But when you divorce, you wreck lives.

Don't think divorce.  Don't speak divorce.  Don't divorce.

Additional Reading

The Family Proclamation
Divorce by Dallin H. Oaks