Wisdom isn’t something that you ought to seek in a far away land, difficult to read book or talking to a saint, only. Wisdom is found in the day-to-day activities, instances, conversations, experiences.
Sharing a conversation, that touched my heart. I am sure it will touch yours too.
This is between me and my son, Arav. He is 9 years old (age is just a number with him). Every time I speak to him, I feel I am just talking to a friend.
Conversation Topic – Introducing his parents’ divorce decision to him
Me: We have something important to talk about.
Arav: I know what you are gonna talk about
Me (shocked): What do you think it is about?
Arav: I know I that I have to be disciplined and nice, when I visit my friend for a stay-over. I have already been briefed about it.
Me: That’s great that Papa briefed you already. I just thought I will share what I felt was good to know before you go for the stay-over.
Even before I could utter another word, Arav (looking at me), starts to tell all the things he’s gonna do and rules he’s gonna follow.
Me: That’s great. However, we also have something else to talk about.Arav: What’s that now?
Me: We, your father and I have decided to get a divorce.
Arav (very sad): Why? Why can’t you live together?
Me: Have you seen each of us lately, we are happy and peaceful. Whereas, we would fight, shout, cry and be unhappy earlier. When we can’t bring happiness to each other and the relationship, its good to leave it, so everyone can be happy, most importantly You.
Arav (crying): So, I have to choose one of you?
Me (lovingly): We are both your parents, you don’t need to choose one of us. Both of us are there for you, you have both Mother and Father. Just that, we wouldn’t live together in one house, instead, in different houses. We will all still be a team, doing everything together, whenever it calls for.
Arav (hugging me): Then, why can’t you do it together.
Me (hugging back): Think of the earlier days, when we lived together, we fought so much. How did you feel?
Arav: I did not like it. I wanted you to stop.
Me (assuring): Who’s the most affected in all of that? You! If you had to choose between that or this, what would you choose?
Arav: I will choose that (old one).
Me: Let’s see it this way. If there is a friend you have, who always fights with you and makes you feel bad about yourself. Whenever you meet that friend, you do not enjoy, but, you come back sad from play time. Would you wanna continue playing with that friend?
Arav: I will try first. And, then I will not.
Me: Yes, baby. Just like that, we tried for a long time. We cannot make good friends for each other, but, we will always be together in raising and being for our children.
Arav: Can’t you do all that living in the same house?
Me: We won’t be at peace in the same place, and that would lead you to be unhappy too. The doggies won’t be happy either.
Arav (settling in): What does it mean for me?
Me: Nothing love. Everything remains the same. You are already living the way its gonna be. Remember, both of us love you, we will always always be there for you, whatever it takes.
Arav (calm): Then, its fine.
Me: What are you thinking now?
Arav (thoughtful): You shouldn’t have told me all this, might as well have continued living like this.
Me: You are family, you ought to know what’s going on. And, you are a responsible child who understands almost everything in the house.
Arav: I feel bad for you.
Me: You don’t feel bad for us. We are both happy respectively, much better than we were together.
Arav (calm): Ok. Can I continue with my game?
Me, with a sign of relief: Go on… Remember, I love you, irrespective of whatever is happening in your life or whatever you choose for yourself.
(For reader’s convenience, me and Arav’s father, live separately for sometime now. However, close enough for Arav to walk into anyone’s house anytime. We make sure, both of us are present for everything that’s necessary for the children, including the doggies. We also take turns to support each other in baby-sitting and caring whenever the other was commitments to meet)
Divorce can be a move from love and peace. It’s a choice we always have, lest we choose to not see it that way.
I have dreaded this conversation for years, and, all I did in that fear, was to keep postponing it. This was a huge move for me too.
Learnings from this decision, change, and conversation.
- Any talks with children are best done, when we are at peace about that topic. If we have a lot of emotional baggage stored about the change, it can become very difficult for us to allow children to be themselves, during the conversation. Comfort and assurance is what they need the most during these times.
- This time is about them, not you.
- The topic and the decision to have a conversation about it, can be difficult too. The simpler we make it, the better it gets across.
- Avoiding making the other person wrong, as a rationale for the decision. The child loves everyone involved, and it will become difficult for them to accept the negative thoughts we have for the other person.
- Answer their doubts and questions truthfully, hiding is not the solution, it’s only a bigger problem.
- Children can understand things, if we intend to make them understand.
- Every painful situation can be handled with love, without any exception. A little patience and love can go a long way.
#difficultconversations #divorce #children #love