Success story: Single dad survives Afghanistan and parenting alone



He was in the military and during one of his deployments to Afghanistan he got a phone call from his eight-year-old son. It seems as though his wife had apparently had too much to drink or had taken some drugs and was passed out. This little boy didn’t know what to do.

Here this dad is thousands of miles away. He can’t just run home from work to see what’s going on. There had been problems before but now he realized his wife was addicted and needed help. He did everything to get help for her. After several years they divorced. As the dad and children were coping with the divorce, she died apparently from an overdose.

Now he and his kids had to deal with grieving the divorce and the death. His eight-year-old son was now a teenager and he was struggling. That was a lot and almost too much for a young teenage boy to deal with and process.

This single dad, who is a strong Christian man, stepped up.

  • He got into a single parenting class at church.
  • He also went through DivorceCare.
  • He asked a lot of questions about ways to help his son.
  • He got his son into grief counseling.
  • He took advice well and would process all the information and then make his decisions based on well thought out considerations.
  • He prayed over his son and his other children relentlessly.
  • He got the kids on a good schedule.
  • He set up rules at home.
  • They ate as a family at mealtimes.
  • He set up family meetings.
  • He developed a chore chart so everyone was involved in participating in the family.
  • He also had fun with his kids. He ran a marathon one year with his teenage daughter. She wanted him to dress up in a tutu but I believe he reneged on the costume but ran the race with her. You could tell when his daughter was telling me about the race that she was honored and excited that she and her dad were doing something together.
  • He kept bringing his kids to church.
  • He brought his kids to our single parent outings. We all became “family” and fell in love with his kids.

Sometimes this dad was the only male in our class for single parents. He kept coming anyway. He shared often and the things he said encouraged the single moms in our group. All the single moms fell in love with this strong-minded single dad. He was a testimony to what God can do in a single parent home.

His son started having problems when he was sixteen years of age. There were issues with school, dating and home life. While many issues like this are typical in most families with teen-age children, in this situation things were exasperated because of the trauma and stress this family had faced. Couple the trauma of living with an addicted parent and then the death of the teen’s mom; he also had to deal with issues of being a military kid. Even though this son was young he still had to face being the oldest and feeling responsible for his younger siblings and even his mom when she was alive.

I know this dad agonized over his son. He questioned himself and asked what he could have done differently. In single-parent homes when there are discipline problems with a child there is no other person to talk to about decisions that have to be made. It can be very lonely as well as confusing to be the only parent and the only decision maker in the home.

One Saturday that next spring this dad came to my house and we talked all afternoon long. I got to know him and I heard his heart that day. He impressed me as such a caring dad and who was hurting for his son. He didn’t want to let go of his son, but in the end it was time to loosen the reigns. His son had his own decisions to make. Even though this dad didn’t agree with his son’s decisions, he let go.

This dad didn’t miss a beat. He continued to be an outstanding single dad to his other two children. He continued in his role in our single parent class. He continued to be an encouragement to me as well as to all the other single parents.

After a couple of years this single dad met a lovely Christian lady and fell in love. They just married this past fall. I love seeing the happy faces I see on Facebook of him and his new family.

In our single parent class we still talk about him and his influence on our lives. One single mom recently said, “I keep remembering everything our friend told us. He helped me to realize I don’t have to settle. I don’t have to hurry to find someone. And I can be a good mom even if I’m parenting alone.”

Oh yes, this single dad is definitely a success story.









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