Rabbi Schmuley Boteach was on the Yenta hour of the Today Show this morning, specifically discussing divorce and its impact on children. While I wasn’t expecting an enlightening segment, or to be personally touched, as a jaded child of divorce myself, I was delighted and surprised with good ol’ Schmuley.
He surprised me when he said that he himself is a child of divorced parents. (I though to myself, ‘maybe this is why he is so in tune with his emotions,’ but there has to be much more to what makes him special, because there are certainly plenty of jerks out there who are divorced kids.)
Rabbi Schmuley so succinctly captures the essence of what makes divorce so difficult for children.
“I’m a child of divorce and the idea that divorce doesn’t affect kids is a lie, a terrible lie, which is parroted in our society because of how commonplace it has become. Divorce leaves children feeling angry, confused, bitter, and puts them into the unnatural state of becoming caregivers to their parents while their parents are busy nourishing their own wounds.”
I can relate.
I guess because of his firsthand experience (“I have spent my whole life trying to heal the scars from my parents’ divorce…”), and, well, his training in counseling, he is so adept in tapping into the heart of this matter, particularly from a child’s point of view. And he is definitely thinking about the Gosselin children:
“Just think about this: 8 young children, 6 of them 5 years old, being subject to being yo-yos throughout their childhood as they go from their mothers’ care to their fathers’ care, being introduced to all kinds of new strangers who their parents date.”
I’ve been a fan of Schmuley since a show he had, on TLC ‘called Shalom in the Home’ in which he travelled to the homes of families struggling with marital and other familial issues, and fixed them. It was brilliant. He is a brilliant counselor, and an Oxford trained theologian and philosopher to boot. And he doesn’t take any bullshit. I think everyone could do with a little advice from Schmuley, America’s Rabbi.
PS. Did you know that he was once a close spiritual advisor to Michael Jackson?! His response to Michael’s passing is here.