It was 1994 when the papers were delivered to my apartment; I had just joined the ranks of 50% of the population when my wife filed for divorce. As a single father my biggest fear was that someone would come in to my ex-wife’s life and that person would eventually replace me as the figurehead and father in the life of my two young children who were five and one at the time.
As I was going through this process of acclimating to my new situation I interviewed many fathers around the country who felt the same way as I did or who had a bad experience with post-parenting after divorce. The picture that they painted was not a very rosy one and I started to understand the challenge that that was ahead of me.
Then one day I was delivering a program in Phoenix, Arizona. Part of my speaking style is to integrate real-life stories with my audience that demonstrates a lesson or solidify us a point I am trying to make. At the break an elderly gentleman came up to me and said;
“You Can Only Be Replaced If You Let It Happen”!
It was at that moment the light bulb went off in my head and I was determined not to be replaced by the new man in their lives who ever that might be. I made a decision that day that there would not be a day that would go by that I missed calling my children no matter where I was speaking in the world at the time.
I also made sure that each and every time I spent alone with my kids was like Christmas morning. Always fun! I also vowed that I would take special vacations with my kids no matter what my financial circumstance was at the time.
The second part of my plan was to always take the high road whether or not my messages ever made it to the kids or not. I was determined not to repeat the mistakes of my father and countless fathers before them who in anger lashed out at their ex spouse or in-laws in front of the children, after all it’s still there family also.
This is one of the most common mistakes that I have seen made by parents and grandparents around the world. Taking the high road will most likely make all the difference in the world although at the time it may not seem like something that you’re really interested in doing.
Well fast forward to June 4, 2009, my son Alex who is now 18 years old is about to attend the University of Texas at Austin on a partial academic scholarship and was graduating from John Burroughs School in St. Louis Missouri that day.
I was at his mom’s house when he sat down with me to show me his high school yearbook. Each student had the ability to write several paragraphs thanking friends and family members for assisting them throughout their school years.
The following is word for word from my son’s yearbook. You be the judge and let me know if my approach was successful or not:
Dad-There hasn’t been a day in my life that you haven’t called me, and that just shows your dedication and passion with my life. We have so much in common that we sometimes know what the other is thinking. You’ve told me more stories in toward me more life lessons than I can remember, and you know me better than anyone. The last that we have shared in the memories that we have had will only speakers to my heart. I love you more than the universe.
For those single parents regardless of whether you’re a man or woman who have had or are going through a similar experience I hope this acts as a guide or lesson to also help you build a strong relationship with your children!
Dr. Rick Goodman speaks from real -Life experiences and achieves great results! Dr Rick’s newest book Living a Championship Life “A Game Plan for Success” has been widely acclaimed since its release.
Dr. Rick Goodman is a professional speaker and author who will give your audience specific tools and systems that get great results. Dr. Rick also works with organizations that want to Develop Great Leaders “Through Excellence in Communication and Team Building”. For more information on Rick’s speaking programs Consulting Programs and Training programs contact (888) 267-6098 or Rick@rickgoodman.com or on the web at www.rickgoodman.com