2 simple ways to overcome the effects divorce has on fatherhood

By Jay Haight

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, May 6 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Jay Haight's children, Logan and Harper, stay busy.

JT Haight

When you think of the word “father” what do you think of? Your own father perhaps? A loving and strong protector? What about when you hear the expression “single father”? What do you think of then? Does the term "dead-beat dad" come up at all? Or a man who’s never around, who has little responsibility?

Obviously not all single fathers are dead-beat dads and not all fathers in the home are wonderful examples. Is it possible to live far away and still be a loving father? Can a “far-away father” still have the same impact and love for his child(ren), even if he’s time zones away?

I don’t intend on defining the difference between a good and bad father. My intention is to enhance your perception of a father. I hope after you read this, your mind will be open more to who a father can be and what he goes through, especially when he’s a far-away father. I hope the fathers who read this will appreciate their responsibility and privilege to be a father, and I deeply hope to strengthen the father who is living in a different home than his children. You are not alone, and if you’ve made mistakes, there is a way back.

I believe a child should grow up with a mother and a father in the home. Both parents offer unique advice and provide different ways of comfort for their children, but most importantly it’s instantaneous comfort, love, etc. In a home with a father, when a child reaches out with her arms for her daddy she is met in the arms of her champion, at least until she is of dating age, which we hope never becomes a serious interest until she is 35.

A complete home is worth its weight in gold; it is a keystone to the stability of a child’s development. A strong and unified marriage teaches a child how to manage and maintain a unified and equal relationship. Unfortunately, in modern times the unity of marriage is becoming weaker and weaker. Divorces are closing in on 50 percent in the U.S. (see www.divorcerate.org), and I hate to see I am a part of that statistic.

My wife and I separated eight months ago, and now I am just awaiting the judgment of the 4th District Court regarding the rules of my divorce. I won’t go into the details of it, but I will say I hold the lion’s share of the blame. I still love and respect my wife, even if she is soon to be my ex-wife.

Divorce is painful and depressing and should always be the very last option, especially when there are children involved. I do not take divorce lightly and I did not go into my marriage thinking, “If things don’t go well I can always get divorced.” My heart is especially broken for the children and the challenges they face because of my poor decisions.

My heart is still as broken as it was eight months ago when my wife and two kids left. We started out with an infinite amount of time and an outlook of unimaginable happiness, but the consequences of bad decisions and actions slowly and painfully grated our infinity down to one single finite moment of extreme anguish and permanent separation.

For me, it was like walking down a sunny path, holding hands, then, out of nowhere, with no warning, a dark and massive wall shot up from the ground between us, and we were ripped apart. It wasn't like how Velcro or paper rips, it was like the tearing apart of a quilt or blanket that had been sewn together with a strong thread.

The wall shot up as tall as the eye could see; it went past the clouds and was as hard as steel. I could not hear or be heard from the other side due to its thickness. I was on the dark side, all alone. Even if I wanted to climb over, I couldn’t. It didn’t end. This impenetrable wall had torn eternity from me in a single second. I was left only with my misery and my thoughts of regret.

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