Author of The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce
The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce(Kregel/February 27, 2015/ISBN: 978-0825443602 /$14.99).
Q: Divorce often leaves a man feeling broken and depressed, yet pressured to put on a brave front. How can a dad authentically lead his children during such a dark time?
You know authenticity is important, especially when you’re trying to lead your kids through some tough transitions. There’s a certain amount of safety and refuge a child experiences from seeing their dad strongly brave the storms. Conversely, when they see a parent falling apart and becoming an emotional basket case, it does nothing to nurture a sense of security.
Still yet, they need to know we are human. I need to model for my kids that I’m nothing apart from God and that Im not capable of doing anything without Christ. So here’s the thing: the problem about a stoic “front” is it’s exactly that…a front that’s not real. It’s inauthentic. A mask, to hide behind. But true faith in God, which comes from your heart, the core of your beliefs…that’s what produces peace. That peace from God is what gives us men the strength to move forward without falling apart and crying like a baby. Trusting God is going to help us as dads. That's the thing kids need to see….the courage and stoicism that comes from a heart that believes God has got this.
Q: The Single Dad Detour is also filled with practical advice on topics from what food to keep in your fridge to how to decorate your new house or apartment. Why are these things important? Kids need a sense of home and I talk about this in The Single Dad Detour. There’s a reason why Hollywood portrays us as clueless single dads whose fridge contains nothing but sour milk. It’s because they know it’s often true to life. Now I know a lot of single dads out there have found real freedom in being able to display their Mad Max posters and their beer can lampshades. But our kids need photos of grandma and a living room floor that's not cluttered with tools. One of the easiest ways we can create a sense of home for our loved ones is to learn to cook and provide a safe environment for them to live in.
In the early months following my divorce I hadn’t learn this valuable lesson yet. I made the mistake of buying my son a dog bed. Yep you heard me right. You know the big round ones for German shepherds? I know I’m an idiot. But it seemed like a great idea at the time. And my son Caleb loved it! It took me about 30 seconds to hit me….My son’s sleeping in a dog’s bed. I got him a real bed the next day.
Q: It’s common for single dads to feel overwhelmed by their financial and relational responsibilities. How is The Single Dad Detour designed to bring meaningful change to a busy dad’s life? I wanted to be intentional in addressing this very issue. That’s why I developed an interactive element at the end of each chapter so they’d have some take-aways. Readers have an opportunity to reflect by answering some hard questions, reading a scripture passage, then planning some next steps. They can even quote a suggested prayer before moving on to the next chapter. These things are key to going beyond just reading a book, to discovering lasting change.
Q: You have now been remarried for 13 years and have two young children. How did navigating the difficult years of single parenting prepare you for the challenge of a blended family? I found I grew in several ways. First of all I was stripped bare of all my pride, arrogance, selfishness and more. Then the Lord spent those next 7 years re-building me into more of what he wanted me to be. My wife Christine has always said she would not have been attracted to the kind of man I was before. I can’t say that I blame her, God’s timing is perfect.
As far as being a better father. I consistently see how my single years changed me spiritually, emotionally and relationally so I could be a better dad both for my older kids and the two daughters Christine and I had together. It’s difficult to see that in the midst of your valley. Hindsight clears that up a lot.
QUESTION FOR READERS: When emotions arise in front of the kids about the divorce (sadness or anger) how do you deal with it?