World Congress of the Family
Over at Chocolate on My Cranium and We Talk of Christ We Rejoice in Christ they are reporting on Angela Fallentine’s experiences attending the World Congress of the Family, held in Sydney, Australia this year. I am so excited from reading her report about the messages the presenters are speaking to. It is inspiring and hopeful to me to know that there are so many of us around the world who feel the need to speak boldly about the future of the family.
One of the comments made by one of the presenters spoke to me. He said that we should be willing to share our stories of how divorce and marriage have affected you. Well, I have both. I am a child from a divorced family and I have built a strong marriage and family as an adult. I have experienced both. I feel that I speak a lot about my family…that is what this blog is about. But I do not feel like I have spent an adequate amount of time speaking about the consequences of divorce for me or my family of origin. Also, I am a social scientist. Growing up in the family I did taught me some very stark examples of things I did not want to have in the family I created, and my education and my religious beliefs helped me to know things I did want to have. This is a deep and intense topic and certainly cannot be covered in only one post. But I will start the dialogue and hopefully keep it going. Feel free to join in with your own experiences. The more of us who can ‘stand as a witness’ to the negative affects of disintegration the family and the blessings of strong and stable families, the more we can help to influence the rising generation and give them tools to stand for the family.
I will just start with some statistics from my family. I am the oldest of six children. My parents had been married just shy of 20 years when they decided to get divorced. I was 18, my brother 16, another brother 14, my youngest brother 13, my sister 10 and my baby sister was 9. It has now been about 25 years since my parents made that decision. Of the children, two of us are still married to our first spouse and have an intact family. Four of us are divorced, one of us divorced twice and annulled once. Of the divorces, there are eight children now growing up in divorced families, compared to the six of us originally. Eleven children are growing up in intact families, nine of those are mine. My father has remarried once and is still married, my mother is currently remarried to her third husband.
In all of this craziness, it is difficult for the children to know who to attach to because in their life time, those individuals keep changing. There isn’t a lot of consistency of care or if there is, it is because the other parent is uninvolved and so they have abandonment issues.
I have plenty more to say, but other things I need to accomplish today…so just ponder on those statistics and take inventory of those within your own families and spheres of influence. This is not a judgmental exercise, simply inventory the statistics and see for yourself. I am sure my experience is not unique, in fact, I know it isn’t.
And do what you can to build your own eternal family, drop by drop.