Sunday, while my son and his buddy played a relatively quiet game of hangman, I listened to Pastor Scott share some great thoughts about community. Sitting in the church service, I remembered how many people at my church supported me during my separation, divorce, and eventual life as a single dad.
This particular buddy (and his whole family) helped maintain stability and consistency through a lot of play time and Saturday hangouts. While the kids played, the dads home-brewed beer and I received amazing support.
Whether in work or social circles, or at the CrossFit gym (I attended one summer while my son was with his mom during the summer visitation), I ran into several guys who were either single dads or facing the eventuality through divorce. Those friendships often became opportunities for guys to commiserate, help each other babysit, or just hang out with the kids. We all had common interests and similar struggles.
One of my early posts addressed the idea of building a team to help you when family was not around and you had an emergency at work. But this post had a utilitarian feel.
What I heard this past Sunday reminded me of those friendships built with fellow travelers and friends and their wives and families who would do what they could to lend a hand.
Some thoughts about these relationships:
Relationships must work both ways. You get out of it what you put into it. One-sided relationships rarely stand the test of time.
You must be intentional about existing relationships and developing new ones. Pastor Scott quoted someone (did not write the name down) who said, “You don’t realize how much you need people until you need people.” Granted, we all have different personality types and this may come harder for you, but the principal remains the same…you have to decide to be a friend and to develop new ones.
Seek friendships with other single dads. One of my single dad buddies from CrossFit became a close friend and his kids and my son had some great times playing and hanging out. He had some great insight for me as I was settling in to the life of a single dad and we helped each other figure out some co-parenting issues as they came up. People with common experiences and issues can provide great input and support.
It could be easy to fall into the trap of isolating and just going to work and raising your kids. But that would rob you of the benefit of the advice and input of others, the realization that others have experienced similar difficulty, and the opportunity to gain some amazing friendships.
Have you been tempted to isolate as a single dad? If not, what friend has made a lasting impact on your parenting?