Two years ago I walked in the Chase Bank in Miami Beach to make a deposit. I was directed to cubical where a young account manager was waiting, he introduced himself as Ricardo.
While handling my transaction we struck up a conversation about fatherhood that lead to a deeper discussion about his break up with his girlfriend and how he was struggling to be a good father to his new baby girl. Ironically, I walked into that same bank today and Ricardo and I nearly bumped into each other at the entrance. This commentary is the result of the reunion.
“Being a parent at any age is tough” I said to him two years ago. “But it’s really hard when you’re both young and immature.” Since then he has established a great relationship with his daughter’s mother and they’re getting along well and focusing on their daughter. I was flattered when he told me how much our talk made a difference. Thank you for that Ricardo. Sometimes we all need a different perspective.
I also told him that too often the pain of a break up, child support issues and trying to measure up to societies expectations of being the perfect family can blind us to our most important responsibility and that’s being good parents. I know because 20 years ago I was very much like Ricardo, fighting with my daughter’s mother over child support and battling with the man who was in her life.
It’s a shame how much time and energy we waste destroying one another over issues that have nothing to do with our children’s well being. Ego, pride, insecurity and feelings of revenge lead many people to make decisions that they’ll regret for a long time if not a lifetime.
It takes a mature person to step up financially, to allow the non custodial parent unlimited access to their child, and yes, even to accept that there will be another man or woman in their child’s life.
But if we truly believe that it takes a village to raise a child we must set aside our baggage and love our children enough to stop hating each other. After all, they never asked to be here but now that they are here we owe them our best! Even if the parents can’t be friends they must love their children enough to work together as a team to raise them.
Women may think they don’t NEED the father and men may think they don’t NEED the mother but our children do NEED both their parents.
Remember, the negativity you project to your child about the other parent destroys a little bit of them everyday. At some point you have to ask yourself, is it worth it? Thanks for the inspiration Ricardo! ~ Michael Baisden