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Tuesday
Apr032012

For the Kids

The other day I watched a show about bad guys. Not dastardly bad guys, exactly, but the kind that swindle on even days and con on the odd ones. 
 
But in this particular episode there was one word that made those bad guys do a one eighty, straightening their crooked ways faster than a chiropractor. 
 
"Kids."
 
The Russian mobster, the seasoned thief and the feisty redhead thirsty for revenge all softened at the word "kids". Concern for children united them against the Badder than Bad Guy who was using little kids to make dirty money. 
 
There is a sweet spot in most human hearts when it comes to the most fragile members of our species. We collectively yearn to keep them safe. Protecting young ones is the motivation for grown ups to pass certain legislation, install fences, and design bicycle helmets. We are hardwired to believe that little kids deserve a fair shake. 
 
Yet the erosion of that universal desire cannot be extracted from the aftermath of divorce. Children suffer when marriages die. It is not from ill intent, or apathy. But the ones with the quietest voices get lost in the cross fire. 
 
One book that makes me cry is The Switching Hour- Kids of Divorce Say Good-Bye Again. The author reached across the political trenches to listen to what it feels like for four year olds to have toothbrushes in two bathrooms, undies in multiple dressers. They schlep bags from mom's house to dad's on Wednesdays or alternate weekends and try to remember where their fuzzy slippers are. It is another layer of stress for toddlers to cleave their allegiance, and try to patch their hearts together when a family divides. They lose things along the way, in the repetitive shuffle that is coparenting.
 
Make your marriage resilient. Do it for the kids.