By Len Stauffenger
Parenthood is a privilege. You have one choice opportunity to help your children become successful, happy adults. You can’t do this until you forgive their other parent. Here’s how.
It’s such a privilege to be a parent. You get to mold and nurture an innocent young mind. You cannot do a good job at parenting, though, until you get your own act together. Becoming stable yourself is the key building block that will allow both you and your children to mature.
Everyone knows forgiveness is good, right, just, and important. It’s just better when someone else is doing it. Forgiveness is in the Bible. You know about that even if you don’t read the Bible. You know that every major religion in the world insists that we forgive our brothers and sisters. You know that Jesus Christ forgave the men who whipped him and crucified him. They did a lost worse to him than your wife or husband did to you.
At your core, you know that forgiveness is the way to go. We know instinctively, although sometimes it’s really hard to see this, that’s its best for us. But why is it so hard to forgive? Why is it that some really good people can’t seem to forgive someone who’s done them wrong? Sometimes the really good people, the ones you trust your life with, have an even harder time forgiving.
Why is it so hard to forgive? Why should I forgive? And how do I forgive? How can I bring myself to that place in time where I can fully forgive with heartfelt sincerity?
It’s even harder to forgive if you’re the one who got dumped (also known as the dumpee.) I suspect that many of my readers were the ones who got dumped. Ok, I was a dumpee and some of my best friends were dumpees. Over the long haul, the dumpees usually fair better. But to really do well in life, they have to get past this forgiveness thing. I really want to tell you that You have to forgive her (him) but I won’t, because it’s human nature to resist when another person tells you you have to do something. And, it would be really good for you and for your kids if you could forgive her (him).
Don’t throw this article away! This is the part that’s really valuable to your children. Right here is the secret that will be most effective in assuring your children that all’s well. It will help them grow up healthy and happy. You might be thinking now that you’re going to throw up because I keep talking about forgiving her and all you can do is imagine her having sex with someone else, behind your back, while you were a good husband. I’m telling you to forgive him and you think I don’t understand because I’m just a stupid man and I can’t possibly imagine how you feel, knowing you were taking care of little kids and making dinner and being a wonderful wife while your husband was meeting his secretary at a hotel. Let me assure you. I don’t care about your cheating husband or lying wife. I care about your kids. I want to help you. This isn’t about helping the person who is being forgiven. It’s all about helping the one who is doing the forgiving.
When you extend forgiveness, that does not mean you approve of what your ex did. When you forgive your wife, you are not in any way approving of what she did. Forgiveness has nothing to do with right and wrong. It has everything to do with freedom and release. You’ve probably heard the saying that revenge is like taking poison and expecting your enemy to die. It’s true. As I mentioned earlier, the ancients knew these things long before we were ever born.
To tell the truth, regardless of what your ex did or neglected to do, it’s impossible to “get them.” Wisdom and the laws of the universe will do that. You’re certainly not going to physically harm them or kill them. You’re not going to make it go away, and you’re not going to make it right. They most certainly did what they did because of their own flaws and weaknesses. Remember George on Seinfeld, when he tells a women he was breaking up with, “It’s not you; it’s me?” He was right! If your husband or wife dumped you, it really is them. That’s not to say you’re perfect, and I would encourage you to learn as much as you can about yourself. But if you got dumped, there was a reason for it and most likely that reason was inside that other person. That may not make you feel any better, but they thought they had a good reason. They probably even thought they had to do it. It was more than just a desire; it was necessary for them.
First you have to understand why. Why did they break your heart? Why did they leave you? Why did they cause the divorce? Just for a moment, put aside your judgment, suspend any thoughts of blame. Cut through all the clutter and just look for the answer to why. The answer may not be rational. It may not be logical. It probably won’t make sense. That’s ok. You’re just looking for the answer to “Why?”
Is it because they weren’t satisfied with you? Is it because you didn’t make enough money? Or you weren’t funny enough? Remember, the answer to why they left probably doesn’t make sense, and you just want to get to the answer. Unfortunately, many people make decisions based on emotion and not logic. They make decisions based on emotions.
There’s another part to this that makes it even stronger. It’s faith. You need to develop faith that things really do work out. You may not be able to see how it’s going to work out from where you’re standing right now, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work out. There really is a bigger picture that we don’t see. The more you develop faith, the more you will see things working out for you and your family. The more you stop trying to control everything in your life, the more you will find that your life makes sense and the more you will see the pattern. All this will foster happy kids, making you an effective and successful parent.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Stauffenger’s parents taught him life’s simple wisdom. As a divorced dad, he wanted to share that simple wisdom with his girls. “Getting Over It: Wisdom for Divorced Parents,” his book, is the solution. Len is an author, a Success Coach and an Attorney. http://www.wisdomfordivorcedparents.com