FRIDAY, APRIL 27: “It takes two to tango,” is a common phrase often heard when people engage in conversation about the responsibility of child rearing.
In my opinion, except in the cases of forced contact, when two people make a choice to engage in activity which could ultimately result in a pregnancy, they’ve also inevitably made the choice to have a child.
It’s no different than the concept and consequences of drink-driving. If you make the choice to drive while drunk, you make the choice to have the lifetime responsibility of any number of hit or miss outcomes.
For many, the thought of a new life on the way becomes very overwhelming, whereas for some there are feelings of anger and denial. But despite these feelings, a new life brought to this world must be nurtured and cared for by the very people who created the life.
While I know there are many single parents who are excellent role models for their children as well as to other single parents, the whole phenomenon has sadly become a part of society’s accepted norm. And it shouldn’t be.
Children were meant to be raised by both parents. Yet, untiring single parents will attest to the fact that when this plan falls through, one of the two must make the undying commitment to stick to the wicket, as exhausting as it will be.
That single parent now enters an unplanned lifestyle of putting all of his or her needs on the ‘back burner’ while forging ahead to do the work of two. The goal: to raise a successful child.
It is becoming far too commonplace for the reverse to be a reality. Children are born. The happy moments of celebration last but for a miniscule fraction of the child’s full life ahead and before the unsuspecting new life has a fair opportunity to the best of life’s guidance that two parents have to offer, the child finds himself dumped in the tumultuous world of single parenthood — through no fault of his own.
Caught up now in the storm of the blame game, the name calling, the frustrations of systems and programmes which can’t seem to make or enforce decisions in the best interest of the child — not to mention the sheer pain of it all — every dramatic chapter plays out in the child’s life and mind as a movie which only the child can rate and title. Lead characters on stage: his parents.
The epidemic of single parent households is on a rapid rise yet the ability and possibly even the desire to have open and frank discussion on the topic seems to be one that very few are willing to tackle.
After all, in our seemingly polite, close-knit society, where ‘everybody is related to everybody’ we certainly don’t want to offend anybody — even if it is a means toward a solution for creating better lives for our youth.
If we saw someone drowning, we’d do all we could to save them, even, in some instances, taking action that would risk our own lives.
Yet there are thousands of single parents drowning in their responsibilities and the lifelines are not there.
Sadly, some single parents are drowning themselves by repeating the patterns that earned them the single parent status in the first place.
But that’s a topic for another time and place. Kudos to all the single parents who are going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the human lives they produced are on a path to becoming productive citizens in Bermuda and in the bigger world. Let’s all remember that they didn’t ask to come here.
On Monday, April 30, the topic of single parenting will be discussed on my radio show Generations. If you are a single mom or dad, I’d love to hear from you so please call in or send me an email to let me know your challenges.
• Shawnette Somner is the host of Generations, which airs on DeFontes’ Broadcasting Company’s MIX106 FM. 7.30pm-9pm every Monday. Call in live during the show on 295-1061. Send comments and show ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.