Children of Divorce Need Heart-Felt Connections
Have you ever had a child get attached to you? I’ve had children who I knew were connected to me emotionally. I always hated it when I had to move and leave those kids behind.
For the child of divorce though it is a little different kind of connection. They become attached to not only you but also to their memory of you. You might call it a heart-felt connection. And they hold onto this memory for years. In their minds they know where they can find you and while you might not see them for years, they know you are there for them in that heart-felt connection.
When a child of divorce moves on to another church or they out grow your group, in their minds they still stay connected to you. The only thing is you might not realize it.
I learned about this phenomenon years ago. Back in the late sixties I worked for the San Diego School system. I taught music classes and also worked in their afterschool program. We had an older school aged child who lived with her dad. She grew into her teen years and we never saw her again after she graduated sixth grade.
Several years later the afterschool program moved to a different location. One day my mentor, Kitty Boggionni, said she was going to make one more sweep through the buildings to make sure everything had been moved. She said as she approached the building she heard someone crying, and as she rounded the corner she saw a young college age woman sitting on the steps weeping.
As she walked closer the young woman jumped up and said, “Oh Mrs. Boggionni, it’s you. I thought I had lost you. When I drove by and saw they were moving everything I didn’t know what to do. I have been so upset for days. Every time I drive by this place I think about you and I always knew if I needed you, you’d be here.”
It seems as though for the past six years this woman felt a connection to the building and to Mrs. Boggionni, the main player in her life when she was in elementary school.
This same thing happened to me when I moved from Oklahoma to North Carolina. The word got out in the community that I was moving, and one afternoon a young woman I hadn’t seen in several years walked right up to me and hugged me. She started crying and said, “I can’t believe you are leaving me.”
I said, “But Jena I haven’t seen you in at least two years.” To which she replied, “But I always knew you were here and if I ever needed you I knew where to find you. Now you are moving away and you are leaving me.”
I had been there for her when her mom and dad had divorced. The only conclusion I can come to is that when you are there for these kids at the most traumatic time in their lives, they connect with you on such a deep level that the memory of that connection lives on inside them.
Now with Facebook and other social media, people can stay connected much easier. I have kids of divorce find me all the time on Facebook. They want to stay connected. They just need to know that I’m here for them. These are heart-felt connections and they go deep.
When was the last time you made a heart-felt connection with a child of divorce?For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.
This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on November 15, 2013.