Margaret J. Wheatley: "All change, even large and powerful change, begins when a few people start talking with one another about something they care about."

Monday, December 31, 2012

Break the Cycle

     I enjoy reading single parent blogs because, beside the fact that I feel like I have something in common with them, I particularly enjoy the upbeat, I've moved on and doing great posts.

     I am a Christian and have completely leaned on my faith through all of this and with everything else.  I am proud of my kids for a lot of reasons, but their each and personal relationship with God is what makes me most proud.  I don't walk around in a cloud of anger and frustration.  I know that isn't good for me or my kids.  If we are honest, though, it IS a very frustrating situation.  It is for me mainly because I was raised and taught that you do the right thing.  No matter what.  Right is right and you have a responsibility to do the right thing.  I know not everyone in the world gets that concept, but it still means something to me.

     What makes me angry about this situation is not just the fact that my ex is a jerk to his kids.  I knew that years ago and that is why I divorced him.  What makes me angry is that women (and men too) end up being solo parents and we rely on the justice system and it is anything but.  I saw so many segments on my local news shows around the holidays with representatives from local missions and shelters.  They all said the same thing.  "We have many different people here, but most are women and children."  Why do you think that is?  I first applaud the hard work volunteers do at shelters, they are doing all they can, but then I get frustrated wondering how many women and children are there and shouldn't be? 

     We, as taxpayers, pay our "system" to keep criminals in jail and off our streets and to keep order.  There is no order but total chaos when that same system fails and women and children end up on government assistance.  Guess who pays double?  Guess who is STILL not paying?

     I know they say, "If we put them in jail they can't pay their child support."  That is true, but if you haven't been paying regularly and have missed months, then you should be put in jail.  There have to be consequences.  I never like punishing my kids, but if it is to keep them safe I will do it.  The same priniciple applies.  Put 'em in a cell for a long weekend with the want ads and see if they don't come out looking and working a little harder that next week.  I have been in abandonment court a few times and as long as they bring ANYTHING they let them go.  I was sitting with another mom who told me she hadn't gotten support for two years and couldn't afford to go through the court (just basic filing to get a case open is almost $300 here and that is the beginning without a lawyer).  When they called her case up, her ex stood up with $200 dollars and by that judge's reaction you would have thought he handed over to her a winning lottery ticket.  One word.  Ridiculous.

     It is an impossible situation for some solo parents.  Especially the moms who have been (I raise my hand) a stay at home mom for years.  There is no way you can work enough hours to pay for everything, have enough time for your kids, attend extra curricular events, and be there when they go to sleep.  This is so important the younger the children are.  Well, I say that, but you need to be as present as you can the teen years and of course there are more expenses at that age.

     My point is, I choose my venting time.  I enjoy my time with my kids, it goes too fast.  I don't want to walk around being sour at the world, but it is time we did  something.  I am blessed to have my family, but I have sat over the last 3 years with SO MANY women (and men) who have nobody.  You can see the fear, frustration, and desperation in their eyes.  Why can't we do something before women and children end up in shelters.  Once they are there it is so much harder to get out of that hole.  Then, the children have become angry at the situation and feel desperate.

     I was waiting on one of my hearings and happened to sit in on "Friday Court".  I watched these young people handcuffed speak to a judge pleading him to let them go home.  Many wanted to go home because they already were parents.  The biggest thing they had in common, it was hard not to pick up on, was that they had been abandoned by a parent.  They, in their words, were repeating the only examples they knew.  One was just stealing trying to eat. 

     In my opinion, when these young people come back through the same system that let them down, the court only has two words they should be able to say to them.  "I'm sorry."

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