Relationships

When Children Ask About Separation

The twelwth @dailyshoot assignment was about signs. These yellow signss indicate hiking trails and can be found all over Switzerland.

I remember it was when I was 16.  I had applied for a small internship as a junior counselor.  A ten-year-old girl came to me and asked, “Why did my parents separate?  Is it because of me?”

I said, “No, of course not!  Why do you think it is your fault?”

She said, “They always argue about where I should stay.”

Being a film fanatic even back then, I remembered what was said in the film “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and I took the moral of that and said the following to this innocent girl.

“Now listen to me, Catherine, sometimes there are issues that are beyond our control.  Sometimes they may even be too hard for the grown-ups to sort out.  In such situations it’s hard for them to stay happy and they may have arguments all the time.  But dear Catherine, let me tell you something: just because they may not love each other doesn’t mean that they don’t love YOU.  There are many, many different kinds of families… some have no father, some have no mummy, some live with their grandparents or even foster-parents.  There are some that live alone in orphanages.  But remember one thing, Catherine.  Maybe sometimes problems get sorted out, maybe sometimes they don’t.  And if they don’t, don’t be upset and don’t blame yourself, because always, always remember that you’ll have a family in your heart forever, and within your heart, no one can separate it from you.  Don’t let yourself down or get upset.  If you have any issue, remember that there’s your mummy, daddy, or you can talk to me…”

When I finished my internship, I heard that Catherine had become a fantastic gymnast.  I have not seen her since.  But the amount of relief I could see in her eyes made me feel special.  It made me feel happy and satisfied that I was able to help her out.  I may not have done anything great, but whatever I did, at least it helped her realize that basic happiness and peace in life.  What more could one ask for!  And I feel proud today that I have helped someone, that I made them feel good.  That pleasure is something that can only be understood when felt, no words can describe it.

 

Image: Flickr/jlz

 

Editor’s note:

Some marriages last for a lifetime. Watch: How an Elderly Couple Demonstrates What Love Is.

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