The forecast had been for a mild but cloudy day with a good chance of rain later in the afternoon. It was cloudy in the morning but began to clear up by noon allowing the sunshine to warm the air enough to make the sometimes gusty wind a mild nuisance. The good weather meant the football game was on. Six on six, my family against my sister-in-law’s family who stopped by before their own holiday dinner. With the help of my son-in-law’s three interceptions, we won by four touchdowns even though our best player, my nephew Tim Smith defected to the other side.
The Other Side
But there is another side to a great holiday like Thanksgiving. It can be a tough day for many. An unfortunate amount of families are not complete, and some split by divorce where allegiances can be challenging. A holiday puts a magnifying glass on issues within a family and it is understandable that it can cause anxiety. If not handled properly, it is the children that are affected the most.
It’s not always poverty, crime, drug use, and/or education issues that plague broken families. It is also sadness--those tight and crushing feelings in the chest, conflicting loyalties, undeserved guilt, and those moments of hopelessness that impact these mostly invisible victims. There is not much one can do to ease those feelings when they happen. The actions that preclude such moments would have taken place in the past.
These unfortunate situations will be minimized when solid partnerships exist in families that love, support, and mentor because the children of these families have a much higher chance of having successful families themselves. Children need a great deal of one-on-one attention and it takes a partnership to do that well in most circumstances. Here are just two of the many needs of children that require a good family partnership.
- Boys need guidance in showing respect for others and handling their masculinity.
- Girls need the self-confidence to not fall for deceitful compliments and attention.
If just the two needs above were fulfilled by loving parents, then young men and women would not need to look elsewhere for answers. Otherwise, a young man who is looking to prove himself will find a young girl who wants attention--and children may be born into a bad situation. Rarely do relationships like these last and when they don't, more children will likely not have their needs met. It's a vicious cycle that feeds on itself.
However, when these needs are satisfied, Thanksgiving and all holidays will be filled with joy for many more families and children. How parents fulfill the needs of children is a question many more people should ask themselves. It is something I talk about at length in my book, The Power of Dadhood. The answers are simple, but many find tough to carry out. But when it is done right, what a difference it makes!