Freedom = Quality > Quantity in Child Custody…
Do you think more time with your child is going to make that relationship better? more fulfilling? Do you think handing more money to most lottery winners makes their life better? more fulfilling? Our lotto-winning friends have much to teach us about relationships, even those with our children. They even have much to teach us about that most American of values…freedom.
Why am I writing about freedom when I’m talking about quality over quantity in Child Custody? Because freedom…true freedom…is that which you have 100% unilateral agency and control over.
Let me make one hard fact clear: your time with your child is NEVER completely yours. Only got visitation? Then co-parent, yes, has more time. Got Sole Physical Custody (because “primary” physical custody does not exist in Alabama)? Then your time is still subject to the co-parent with visitation. Terminated co-parents rights and your new spouse adopted? Then your child, Lord-willing, will learn, grow, become independent, leave your home and cleave to all that this world has waiting for him or her.
Point is, you are simply not free to determine the amount of time you get to spend with your child. Whether it’s the Judge, co-parent, relative caregiver or your child, your time is subject to the rights, demands and interests of others.
When I think of folks that really understand freedom 2 people come to mind: Joseph (as in the coat of many colors) and Viktor Frankl. Common thread here? Both spent time imprisoned. Joseph in biblical Egypt and Viktor Frankl in an internment camp during the Holocaust.
These gentlemen, in horrid circumstances, weren’t free to do very much at all. Each, though, relentlessly appreciated the depth of their experiences…their own experiences. Depth, then, or Quality, to use the word from the title of this post, is infinite, abundant and the last bastion of real Freedom any of us have in our lives and in our relationships with our children, or anyone else for that matter.
Ever heard the phrase “a mile wide and an inch deep”? There’s nothing novel in my observation here that our relationships with friends and family can slip into being…in a word…shallow, even our relationships with our children.
One reason here, and it is the reason it is so much easier to focus on how much time you have with a child, is because quantity is easy and quality is hard.
Why is quality hard? Because it means experiencing difficult truths about yourself, about your friends, even about your child. It’s easier just to sit by each other on the couch and feel warm fuzzies rather than make a real effort to see the other person…and to allow them to see you. Heck, it’s scary to allow you to see you.
One gripe about rich folks when they get in trouble is that they just “throw a bunch of money at it” rather than deal with the real issue. As my oft-quoted buddy, Aaron Sorkin, wrote, “you don’t have a public relations problem — you have a problem.”
Parents and Caring Relatives do the same sorta thing when it comes to their relationships with their children. Not fulfilled? Let’s throw a bunch of time at it. Surely, the only way I can really connect with my child – for them to see me and who I am – to see who they are and who they’re becoming – is more time…
Incorrect. You have the power…the freedom…to plumb the bottomless depths of each moment with each person in your life, including and especially yourself.
Then, when you are grateful for who you are blessed to be and each experience you get to have, you won’t want to waste a moment not being grateful for and cultivating the quality of each moment you have with your child. Then…and this can’t be considered legal advice, but I truly believe it…”whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matt. 25:29)
This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you or your unique situation. If you would like to speak more about how you, as a committed parent or caring relative, can be more effective in your Child Custody case, please visit www.ThinkFoxtrot.com/public_calendars/ to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices. ~SW, Foxtrot