The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Stranded in family land

Newly single parents can use these strategies to make a place for themselves and their kids

When Ward and June raised Beaver and Wally on that idyllic, elm-lined TV street, there weren't any single mothers just up the block. Too bad. Had there been a nice divorcee with two kids living next door, the possibility that "family" could mean things other than Ward, June and the boys might have become a firmer part of popular culture. Then the suddenly single might not feel so stranded out there in familyland.

Today divorce is common. So why are schools, churches and communities failing to support the newly single parent? (See page 8.) Sometimes those very institutions that support families can be simultaneously — and accidentally — wounding singles along the way. Nobody's plotting to shame singles, especially during stressful recovery times when they most need to feel part of a supportive community.

I didn't think I'd end up a divorce statistic. I always thought I'd marry one guy and we'd stay together forever. But instead of that tidy little life, I got a larger, messier one. With 20/20 hindsight, I can tell you that I got the better end of the deal. I have three remarkable, kind, funny children who have learned, right along with me, that life is unpredictable and that change won't kill you. Those are good things to know.

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February issue


Embracing diversity