Friday, March 23, 2012

132nd Post - Divorce: Who Gets the Kids?

In BC, the marriage of the TF (Teacher's Federation) and Government is fundamentally damaged. We know reconciliation is most certain to fail. The TF has so much contempt for the Government, they can barely say 'Liberal' without spitting. In turn, the Government pokes back, passes laws sure to stir up the hornets nest; inevitably hitting their mark.

This is nothing new in BC. For the over 3 decades I've been a member of the TF, the gloves come off during contract negotiations and the fight is on. Neither side can make a move in good faith, because there is no trust. The marriage is toxic.

In the worst divorces, the ones with acrimony, contempt, disrespect, and dare I say hate, it becomes evident quickly that the children are collaterals. 

Parents entrench; children remain stuck in the middle.

Opposing sides come into the negotiations not only with the experience and impact of this marriage, but also the impact of their family of origin - immediate and extended. Each side in the conflict believes they are right and the uglier things get, the more they dig in their heels. War is declared. Often the two sides can not speak at all; so intense is the loathing. Lawyers are summoned. The cost increases.

During these conflicts it's imperative to get back to the main thing:  Mom and Dad begat Jack and/or Jill.   Mom and Dad both declare they love and care for Jack/Jill the most!  Unless a child has been completely indoctrinated by one parent (parent alienation), children tell me they want the fighting to stop. They feel stuck in the middle yet often they feel a responsibility to both parents.

So why did they marry in the first place? My research indicates it was a forced marriage; shot gun so to speak. They got married cause of the kids. There is little reporting of love and only the briefest of honeymoons. There have been opportunities to introduce step parents to the mix. Social Credit, Liberal, and NPD;  they have all at one time been united in marriage to the TF. None end well. 

So here we are in 2012. The kids - and by kids, I'm referring to the teachers (bet you thought I meant students) are being pulled both ways. We, like most children,  didn't get to pick our parents. In order to teach in a public school in BC we must belong to the TF. As BC residents our other parent is chosen in democratic elections. 

I, for one, am tired of Mom and Dad fighting. My first choice would be emancipation from both of them. But we know that can't happen. So, how about if Mom and Dad (or Mom/Mom; Dad/Dad) get back to the table to listen and talk? Using their best inside voices! Let go of the rancor, contempt, hate; put the kids first! 

Oh, and about the other kids. The real kids - our students. At this point they continue to be collaterals in the divorce war between Ma and Pa! There will be an impact.

One more thing: If there is will on both sides; if the rhetoric is to be believed and this really is about the kids, then both Ma and Pa have no choice but to get back to the table and reach an agreement. The cost of not doing so is far too great! The cost of continuing the war is even greater.

At any rate, if the polls are to believed there will be another divorce and remarriage in spring 2013. And then we begin again. 

I continue to believe,
Better is Possible,


  1. Hi. Don't know what to say. If you want your children to be educated either send them to a private school that delivers or home school them. That's where the top students in this country come from, not government schools. The teachers get a better deal too.

  2. Yes I agree with Geoff.
    There is no money. There are less and less jobs. People have to resolve problems without unions or governments or lawyers.
    All a waste of time and money.
    In the mean time, kids suffer.

  3. Well you two, not exactly the point I was aiming for. I am 100% committed to public education. That's why I've stayed around for 32 years.
    Geoff - I suspect education is a bit different in your part of the world.
    Lady - I disagree, there is always money, it's about where we use it.
    Greetings to both of you!

  4. Better is possible.
    We are out of money. Yes the government continues to spend, however its not money we have, rather more debt (like a visa). They have to cut back. Its also about priorities& budgets.
    Great article. The students are the kids, the teachers & government are the parents, and the union/TF are the lawyers.

  5. Such a "sad but true" case.

    Our son decided to home school his kids. I think he had a number of motives. Anyhow, the education system to which he could send his children (our grandchildren) thinks he is doing a good job. Which is happy.

    I think health, food, and education are the three cornerstones of society. Everything else is secondary. Sadly, we're having problems with all three of the basics. Is there any connection between that and the fact that much of western society is a mess?

  6. Thanks for your comment Rob. I've been so consumed by this (plus we're moving in a week) that I've neglected my blog reading (and writing). You are the voice of reason. How do we improve things for our children and grandchildren. We too, have grandchildren being homeschooled. As a teacher it makes me kind of sad, but my step daughter is clever, patient, and it seems the kids are doing well. I need to get some balance back. It's far too easy to be consumed by all of 'this'.
    Take care.