Oprah, Iyanla, and Bishop T.D. Jakes changed my parenting. Over the course of a summer — this summer to be exact.
You know where this is going. It’s going to be a life lessons, in-depth, cathartic kind of thing. And it was. When Oprah and Iyanla featured a special on “Fatherless Sons,” and another on “Daddyless Daughters” earlier this summer, I wept. The ugly cry.
Not for me. But for my kids.
Him and them. The trifecta. The Three Amigos. My Littles.
You see, if there is anything…anything I could take back from the divorce it’s the absence of their father. And those two shows taught me this summer that no matter how available I am making the kids — if the perception is that I’m the enemy, then well, I’m the enemy.
And it’s not fair. I am not the enemy. He knows he can call them anytime. They can call him anytime.
But he doesn’t. And I don’t encourage them to call him because he doesn’t answer, nor does he always return calls. And that whole scenario hurts their feelings. So I want to protect them. And when they ask to use my phone to call him, I cringe on the inside because I still have unresolved issues. But I still let them call, when they ask. But sometimes, calling is not the only thing I can help them do.
I didn’t think I needed to do anything more to support their relationship with him. The quarterly visits and monthly calls were the best I thought I could do.
Until I realized I was in the way.
The children need to have access to their father without going through me. He needs to have access to them without going through me. They are older now, and free access is okay. It should be what’s happening.
So I was good this summer after watching the first two shows. But I never acted on what I was seeing on the screen. Then the theme seemed to continue to present itself to me. But I didn’t budge on the access thing. In theory I was supportive, but in action I wasn’t.
Then Oprah came to Dallas as part of T.D. Jakes’ MegaFest. And she talked about this very issue. And I wept again. Because the hints were loud and clear. My parenting had to change, there needed to be more access, and I needed to stop being the enemy.
So this fall, I’m allowing the kids that access. And I’m backing off. Through social media, cell phones, and email, they can contact their Dad whenever they want to. And he can contact them. And I don’t have to know anything about it other than they talk. And that they talk regularly.
I’m pretty sure there was a whole lot more for me to learn from this, but it is catharsis….I can only handle it in chunks. And this is where we are today.
Oprah, Iyanla, and T.D. Jakes. They fixed my life…I think.