How do I get close to my children? How can I regain their friendship?
There is no easy answer to this question, all I can offer is what I have discovered in my own experience. I separated from my wife in 1995 and was divorced by 96, for two years I only saw my children on week ends.
Before I became a Christian my passion was Martial Arts. After my exodus, it wasn’t long before I returned to this art. One of my sons began to train in a particular style that I too had studied, so I went along to watch, it wasn’t long before I too joined in. I remember going to classes, to train and fight, as this was a good way of releasing my frustrations and venting my anger, in a safe and controlled environment. As I had been one that taught, I began to teach my children the science of fighting, and trained with them every chance I got. I had found a positive input, something that we all enjoyed. Just as I was with religion, I went head on into my re-found hobby.
We entered competition after competition, and came home with a number of International titles. This of course fuelled my new found fire. As boxing and kickboxing are more accessible on the TV, we began to follow it and then began to go to live matches. Two of my sons (both in their 20’s now) are amateur boxers, and are doing exceptionally well. Another has his own students in Kung Fu and Chinese Boxing and is excelling in his training techniques.
Unbeknownst to me, I have bridged the gap of communication between myself and my children. We now, as adults, look forward to going to a live fight, or the local pub, to watching the fights on the big screen, where the atmosphere is simply electric. We argue our different points of view, make small wagers and discuss strategies. All of my boys are qualified Black Belts now, and have their own students. I come over to their classes and tweak and ad to the curriculum. Even my daughter has trained in self defence and is a lot better than we ever imagined she’d be. Her and I and my two adopted daughters also have a common interest in singing.
It was our common interest that initially and continues to bring us together on a regular basis. One of my boys is like a walking Encyclopaedia of boxing and kickboxing. He knows all the statistics, just like I knew the bible.
The whole scene eventually led me to a completely new occupation in the security industry, where I started as a bouncer and then moved into body guard/armed escort work. This was where the rubber really hit the road. There are no referees, no trophies and no gloves. This was the real thing where I had to deal with authentic life scenarios, where doctrine (theory) was tested and proven. God had simply, disappeared out of my life.
My point is, you must find a common interest with your family, your wife, your children, and their children. It does not have to be a sport, it can be anything of common interest. If you have none, then find out what they are interested in, and join the wagon train. You never know, you might even enjoy yourself.
Maybe camping, foot ball, cricket, Base ball, or simply playing cards, anything that will brings you together, even if it is competitive. I have one friend, who has developed a similar relationship with his kids, mountain bike riding, so he went along to drive them up to the top of the mountains, and then he’d meet them at the bottom and drive them back up. They said to him, come on, just once, give it a go, and the rest is history. He and his sons, are full on into this sport, and they have a magnificent relationship. They asked me to come along with them, but I’ve seen what they do on video, and their crazy. (incidentally, he too is a former and disillusioned Christian)
There must come a time in the life of your children, when you have to move away from the Father figure, and simply become their dad. You have to let them go and allow them to make their own choices, no matter if you agree with them or not, it is their choice and maybe their mistake. They must be allowed to partake of “the tree of knowledge”, and live.
If you become a friend and not try to be an authoritarian, they will continue to tell you things, sometimes to much information for a dad to hear, but at lest the channels of communication are open. They are not put on this planet to obey your every wish, unlike god, who demands absolute obedience, they are here to evolve and move in the direction of their choices.
If you wish to retain control, you will loose in the end. You may not agree with the way your children choose to live, but you must remain true to them, because they are more important than your prejudice. After all prejudice is only a system of beliefs, a belief system of narrow-mindedness, discrimination, bigotry, intolerance, injustice and prejudgements, a sure symptom of religious fundamentalism, all propagated and re-enforced by the bible.
I love my children like nothing else. Even though they may have adopted values that I do not share with them, god has nothing to offer, compared to the love of my kids. They have become a major part of my life, and I of theirs. They became my salvation, for without them, I truly believe I would have gone insane. If I am remembered by them, then I have attained what I consider a life of purpose and hope. I am fulfilled.
I am now re-married and have a total of eight children, life’s great.
Stay turned for Volume Two:
Exposing biblical propaganda.
What kind of a father is the Old Testament God?
Exploring the Bible on the subject of God’s character.
God’s diary, looking into the mind of God.
Things, that you weren’t taught in Sunday school.