I've been thinking a lot today about all the kids in Jari's class. Don't know why, but it hit me today that there isn't a single kid in his class with divorced parents, separated parents, or single parents. And what I've been thinking is that it says about the values in Europe...or at the very least, in our little corner of Europe. When I was teaching, there were always kids in single-parent homes, or those living two days with mom and three with dad, or those that had mom pick them up through the week and dad pick them up for his weekend visit. It made me feel really good to know that I'm raising my children in a society in which families don't have these severe issues to deal with, that my son's playmates don't have the stress and concern about parents who fight continually and say mean things to their child about their other parent. I feel proud of my community for making this a secure place for our children. A place where they are free to be children without the adult worries and fears that so many American children live with. And it made me wonder why? Why do Americans see divorce as such an easy out? What has given parents and couples the okay to not work through problems and take the easy out? And what value has been imposed upon Belgians to assure that their families remain intact?
I don't disagree with divorce in certain situations. And I don't believe that people should stay together for the sake of their children. What I do believe is that too many people run into an issue and scream out the D word and then put it into action before they even consider the consequences of their actions, before they have time to remember what it is that made them fall in love in the first place, before they give their marriage a chacne to work, before they put in the time and energy to repair the damage done. It's too easy to get mad and leave. And damage ourselves and our children in the process as we go off in search of another mate to marry within the year and start the cycle all over again. It's so irrational for people to go into marriage thinking there will be no problems to overcome, that the butterflies will twittle in our tummies til the day we die, that we won't have financial disagreements to overcome or disagreements about how we parent our children. And even more irrational to bolt out the door when those issues do arise.
Erwin and I both have parents that have been together since our birth, that have stayed together through thick and thin, riches and poor, sickness and health. They took their vows seriously, and continue to do so after 40 and 36 years respectively. I admire them for this, for giving us a secure childhood, and teaching us what marraige and commitment mean. And I admire my community for taking their vows seriously as well. My children are growing up in a world where family means family, where families support one another, and strive to make things work. They are learning the value of commitment, and taking in the feeling of security, not just in our home, but within our entire community. All these realisations just made me love Europe a little bit more today, and made me hurt for the children that aren't allowed this experience in their lives.