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Making divorce easier for kids to understand– a sweet story

 
 

Blindfolded

 

I love getting uplifting emails and Facebook messages from people who minister to children. The following message is just too sweet to keep to myself. I pray that it blesses you as much as it did me.

This message comes from Randy Smith, a businessman in his community and a lay leader who coordinates and oversees DivorceCare, Single & Parenting, and DivorceCare for Kids at his church.

Through his business, Randy has connections with community leaders. When a local school called and asked him to speak on career day, he was very surprised the school wanted him to speak on what he does at his church, not on his business. Here is Randy’s story.

I was recently asked to speak to the fifth graders at an intermediate school in our area for their career day. Boy, what an honor! Of course, I said yes, but they asked that I speak on divorce and how it affects kids.

They said that I had 15 minutes to speak to each class, and then the class would move to another speaker. Yikes! Fifteen minutes to cover the effects of divorce?

I knew I’d need some help on this one, so I called our DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K) consultant at the Church Initiative headquarters to get a few ideas that I could use with the kids. Our DC4K consultant suggested using the jump rope demonstration from one of the DC4K sessions. This demonstration is for the session titled “It’s Not My Fault” and is used to help children understand this issue.

In this demonstration, four children are involved. Two children hold the ends of a rope. They swing it back and forth but don’t turn it all the way over. Another child is blindfolded. A fourth child who is not blindfolded tries to talk the blindfolded child through jumping over the rope. The child who is the talker cannot touch the jumper.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of laughter and silliness that took place during this demonstration. Everyone in the class got involved, with some of them wanting to shout out instructions to the blindfolded child. After the demonstration ended, and everyone calmed down, I asked the jumper:

  • Was it hard to jump over the rope when you couldn’t see it?
  • Was it embarrassing because you couldn’t see?
  • Was it your fault you couldn’t see?
  • Was it your fault you couldn’t jump over the rope?

From that point, I was able to explain that separation and divorce are adult problems. It is not children’s fault if their parents split. These kids laughed and had a good time, but more importantly, they got the message that divorce is not their fault. And we did it in only 15 minutes. It was powerful.

I had no idea what an impact it made on the kids until I received an envelope from the school in the mail the next Saturday. I thought if might be some sort of a letter and certificate thanking me for speaking to the kids. But when I opened the envelope and started reading the contents . . . I broke down and cried!

There were twenty-plus thank-you notes that I received from the kids. Here are just a few samples:

“Mr. Smith, I just wanted to say thank you for not making me feel like an idiot ’cause for a long while, I sometimes thought it was my fault that my parents got a divorce, but now I know it wasn’t my fault, so thank you.”

“Dear Mr. Smith, I liked you the most because you made me realize not everything is my fault, and I loved the game we played. Thank you for coming. I loved everything that you talked about.”

“Dear Mr. Smith, thank you for coming to our school talking about your jobs. And thank you for doing games with us. I liked how you said it’s not their fault that their parents split up.”

Thank you, Randy Smith, for sharing your experience. A silly, little game proved to be something so simple yet so powerful in helping children understand just one issue of divorce. Lives were changed because you cared enough to do something.

 

DC4K blogs posts are great to use for training children’s leaders and volunteers and they are free.  Subscribe to the DC4K blog here.

Want to learn more about how to start a DivorceCare for Kids group for the hurting children in your community? Click here.

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5 thoughts on “Making divorce easier for kids to understand– a sweet story

  1. Mr. Smith, is my dad. And he is the best man I have ever met! I am so happy he is touching your lives, as he has touched mine!

  2. Randy Smith lives his life helping kids and parents change the negative affects divorce can bring, into positive steps for their future. In his fun, simplistic way, he takes seemingly complicated situations and relationships, and uses his realistic mindset to help people of all ages, walk in truth and be set free. God has blessed Randy to equip people to look beyond their past and see how life is never over….. It’s always just begun! I am blessed to call him friend.

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