Archive for November, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Tree

November 24, 2008

Last year–and again this year–My girlfriend and I started our own Thanksgiving Tree. Before I explain, I want to thank the kids for this more than us. Or perhaps, I should thank her, her kids, and my kids for what it all has taught me.

The idea is simple. You get a very large piece of paper. She calls it butcher paper (check Wikipedia). The paper is big enough to cover the back of a door. Make sure the door is one that is visible during breakfast or any other mutually selected family time.

Lay a six to eight foot high piece of paper on the floor and ask the kids to get their crayons and draw the out line of an autumn tree without any leaves. The trunk, limbs, branches, and twigs. If they want to add a green lawn or a forest floor, encourage them to do so. For creative kids, put the family cat in the tree and the dog barking up after it. If they ask you to help draw; join right in.

Next, cut out a bunch of pieces of paper, 4″ x 6″. Make them in the shape of simple leaves. You can use multi-colored construction paper in any color but black.

Put the leaves in a bucket or basket and leave it by the breakfast table. Add one stick of glue and two magic markers.

At breakfast, pass out a leaf to everyone at the table. Take turns with the markers and write something on the leaf for which you are thankful; Moms, Dads, bananas, time, pillows, sunshine, Transformers, baseball, or anything that comes to mind. Just one item per leaf.

Turn over your leaf and apply glue. Stick your leaf on the tree.

The idea is so incredibly simple and so incredibly powerful. Our six year-old boy had begun to make lists on his leaves. He came to me with a sad face and said he was running out of things to be thankful for.

I said, “Well, the purpose of the tree is to help us think about the small things in life that escape our attention everyday. If I want to butter my toast, I’m going to be thankful for butter, the butter dish, the knife, the toaster, electricity, the cow, the hay that fed the cow and a whole lot more.

“Our lists of things for which to be thankful never have to end. We just have to figure out where they start. And–usually–they start right now; right here.”

Well, as six year olds go, I was thankful he sat through that lecture. I was thankful that he may have almost understood the profound message that I just managed to utter. Then, I was thankful that this kid was far smarter than I am and he might have understood my simple message far more deeply and profoundly than I will ever realize.

Thank the Pilgrims for Thanksgiving. Or, whoever had the bright idea to legislate a Holiday whose concept is thankfulness. Nobody gets a gift. We’re all just thankful to have each other.

Finally, I want to give thanks for my kids, even though I haven’t seen them in 2.5 years. And, thanks for hope that I may see them again, soon.

Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

You know where to find me: http://www.mywiferanoffwithourkids.com/

Advertisements

Hawaii Woman Gets Easy Sentence in Child Abuse Case

November 22, 2008

Readers of my blog know that I have not seen my kids in 2.5 years. They know that I continue to declare my innocence against the false allegations of domestic violence charges upon which I have been found guilty of being a “bad parent.” They know that I have taken responsibility for my actions and have suffered consequences far in excess of my actions.

Then the Honolulu Advertiser’s, Jim Dooley reports; “Child abuse conviction leads to prison sentence.” Published and updated at 3:18 p.m., Friday, November 21, 2008.

It irks me to see a woman who has unrepentantly “cited the biblical admonition “not to spare the rod” in disciplining children.”  I see red when the prosecutor has advanced testimony from her children that point to excesses of discipline that would curl the hair of the most seasoned masochists; “…Shoved a broom handle down the throat of one child.?”

Then, she defiantly “decline[s] comment other than to stress that she should be called ‘her Royal Highness’ because she serves as the Royal Minister of Foreign Affairs for a Hawaiian sovereignty group.”

What HUBRIS!! Is she, like, friends with George Bush?

The judge sentences her to five years when the prosecutor is pushing for 41.

Ok. Hold the reigns. Something is amiss.

She’s 52 years old. She’s up on eight counts of abuse against multiple grandchildren. “Three of the victims were in court and said in written statements that their aunt and co-defendants in the case, Gabriel and Barbara Kalama, beat, starved, and threatened to kill the children over a period of four years when they were between 10 and 14 years of age.”

WOW! These are some angry kids. But who are they angry at???

Her lawyer has her plead “No Contest.” Now, the case really stinks and I’m beginning to think that Judge Crandall had some insight that was not published in this article.

Dear Mr. Dooley. Thank you for bringing this lady’s plight onto the front pages, but I hope you can get more information.

I have been railroaded by the domestic violence prosecutors in this state and I can tell you, from experience, that there is much more to this story. The State of Hawaii does not need to make this lady a martyr for her beliefs about her Hawaiian Heritage.

Nebraska’s Legislature Shows Its Yellow Streak

November 22, 2008

Widely reported today is the story about Nebraska’s Child Safe Haven Law. One such report is from the New York Times, “Nebraska Revises Child Safe Haven Law,” by Erik Eckholm, published: 11/21/2008.

Rather than acknowledge that their child care system is in shambles, as are the child care systems of many neighboring states, Nebraska legislature took the cowardly, protectionist step of limiting the child-drop-offs to infants under 30 days old.

These lawmakers knew what they were doing when they enacted the law that effectively defined a child as any kid under the age of 18. Thirty-five kids were helped under this law, including the 11 children of a man who was widowed last year, lost his job and did everything he could to take care of his kids.

No parent wants to abandon their kids, but some parents make the decision that the children will be better off in a foster home instead of in poverty. No father wants to lose touch with his children, but some fathers get overwhelmed by the real-life consequences of social stigmas that reinforce the prejudice against men as parents.

The men and women who promote these stereotypes are the same ones pushing the stereotype of the woman as a victim; victim of patriarchy and male dominance. These black and white thinkers put men into one category–bad–and all women into the other–good victims.

In the hearings before the Nebraska vote, Lavennia Coover, a kindergarten teacher from Decatur, Nebraska is shown sobbing or rubbing her nose. She had dropped off her 11 year old son “at the end of her rope, financially and emotionally.” Why is it ok for this woman and not for the man described above?

I am no advocate of the state getting involved in our families or our children’s lives, but when families break down, there is no recourse in our society. If a man, everybody looks at you as though you are a failure. As a woman, you get sham sympathy and a hammer; “child welfare officials in Douglas County, which includes Omaha, filed a petition accusing Ms. Coover of neglect.”

It is hypocritical of the Nebraska’s judiciary to allow such charges after that law was crafted by its legislature to specifically handle family issues that had gone far beyond professional help, much less the sub-standard help offered by the state’s family services.

The multiple families–of all stripes–who have borne their pain plainly for the world to see have ripped open the problem onto the table of the politicians that have enacted the laws that allowed it. Families are not easy to grow and they are in jeopardy now more than ever. Did the Nebraska legislature get that message? NO. Instead, they are slamming the door on all families in need.

Have any of these legislators considered the root of the problems? No fault divorce. Easy temporary restraining orders. Sole custody decisions that make one parent responsible for their children and the other parent guilty and indebted to the children for a generation. High child-support rates that force good men into hiding. Complicated by economic woes and social prejudices that are promoted by the federal Violence Against Women’s Act. These are just a few of the things that are destroying our families.

The solutions are surprisingly simple.

  • Shared parenting laws that assume Joint Custody in cases where domestic violence is not proven.
  • Higher thresholds for proving domestic violence; from “preponderance of evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence.”
  • Increasing penalties for false allegations.
  • Promoting the understanding that children need both parents.
  • Opening Family Courts to public scrutiny. Family Courts are becoming machines of government sponsored terror and should be reigned in.

To learn more about these issues visit my web site at http://www.mywiferanoffwithourkids.com/.

Live Beat Dads Outnumber Deadbeats 10-1

November 20, 2008

Virginia Child Support Enforcement Division statistics show that one in every 11 Virginia children has a parent who refuses to consistently pay. In Tennessee, the state Department of Human Services statistics show that number is one in every 12 children.” So writes Mike Owen for Tricities.com. (http://www.tricities.com/tri/news/local/article/fleenor_we_dont_want_these_people_in_jail_we_want_payment/16436/) Glenn Sacks has a few good words to say about Mike’s article on his web site, too.

If you look at the flip side, over 90 percent of Dads are paying their child support in-full and on-time. These are interesting statistics for only two states but it is information that gets relegated to the bottom of the barrel when talking about men taking responsibility for their children.

Mike also states that over 90 percent of non-custodial parents in arrears owe, on average, less than $5,000. Less than 10 percent owe, on average, over $30,000. This ten percent accounts for 90 percent of the arrears owed nationally.

Child support is a form of indentured servitude. I am a non-custodial parent paying child support. I fall into the 90 percent of Dads who pay in full and on time; a Live Beat Dad. The specter of child support has me worried, though. If I were to lose my job, I would be immediately in arrears, the court would impute my income, and at nearly $900 per month, I might find myself in jail pretty quickly. A debtors prison while the bills continue to rack up. It’s supposed to be unconstitutional, but our country allows it.

Deadbeat Dads get pushed into the under the table world of employment. They can’t establish permanent residency and if they hold a job for too long, their wages get garnished and they are forced to move on. Perhaps the worst part about our current child support system is that these Dads are forced to lose touch with their children. Their children are the ones who suffer most from the draconian child support system that exists in America today.

Live Beat Dads, like me, suffer a fate that is no less excruciating when an uncooperative ex is exercising her power and control. We watch as the custodial parent spends loads of money on herself, marries a well-to-do professional and enjoys a standard of living far in excess of when the couple was together. The child often gets very little.

Even worse, while child support and visitation are not supposed to be related, we watch as our visitation is cut and they take us back to court for increases in child support. I haven’t seen my kids in over 2.5 years. I don’t know what they want for Christmas. I don’t know who they are any more, with their childhood stolen from me by a vindictive ex who abducted them over 8 years ago. And her wrath continues to seek new ways to punish me. It is a typical pattern of abuse suffered by far too many Live Beat Dads.

I’ve always been an advocate of child support payments, but our system is way out of control and drives good men into hiding; not just from the government, but from their children as well. Mike’s article is a good read and presents the Dad’s side of the issue with some clarity. His journalism is a far cry from the typical “Mom good / Dad bad” stereotype.

To learn more about how you may one day become embroiled in child support, visitation, and custody issues, visit my web site at http://www.mywiferanoffwithourkids.com/.

What do my kids want for Xmas? II

November 19, 2008

My daughter (13-who will be 14 by X-mas) has previously been into vampires and techno, sci-fi. But she’s probably read all that stuff by now. Add a strangeness into reality today and fast forward 20 years. That’s the kind of fiction she might like.

My son (11) is right-handed and according to various sources is now into tennis. I don’t play tennis. So, what do tennis players like? Tho, I’m not sure that he would not be totally transfixed by the new SPORE game that is out.

But,  how can I tell?

I am a father who has been denied visitation and all contact with my children since September 2005.  A biased judge in a closed family courtroom decided, without evidence, that I was a bad parent. My punishment was to banish me from all contact with my children and to give the children’s other parent complete power and control over their contact with me.

If I had actually done anything wrong, perhaps this outcome would have been warranted. Thing is, I have denied, and still deny, that the allegations made by my ex have anything to do with reality.

Instead, I am forced to admit that being the non-custodial, submissive, and acquiescing parent in a violent and domineering ex-parenting relationship has not benefitted my children. And, I believe that my children are severely harmed by the avalanche of animosity enjoyed by my ex who pretends to be a victim of domestic violence.

After 9 weeks into my fifth year of Family Counseling, it seems an understatement that I have been denied visitation.

Visit my web site to find out more about how easy it is for a woman to destroy your life when your life is your children and family. http://www.mywiferanoffwithourkids.com/

What do my kids want for Christmas?

November 16, 2008

This is a post that I hate to be writing. As a non-custodial parent who has had no contact with my kids for 2.5 years, I just don’t know what they want.

I have been sending thinking of you cards monthly for over a year. However, I have had no indication the kids have actually received these cards. They have not responded to a single one with a hello, a phone call, email or any other communication. I believe their mother has them convinced that there is a “no contact order” in place. Even though there is not.

I have bought birthday gifts for both of them on each of their birthdays. And, last year, I bought Christmas gifts based upon what I thought that I might know about them from having seen them last in 2005.

I buy gifts from Amazon.com. It’s easy enough and I don’t have to deal with my ex.  Just click and send.

Thing is, this Christmas they are older, more active (or maybe less), interested in what? I just have no clue.

I want to know what my kids want for Christmas. I am the only one in the world who is forbidden by a court of law to see my kids. Any one out there who knows, please let me know.

To find out how I got into this mess, visit my web site at http://www.mywiferandoffwithourkids.com.

Thanks for caring. 🙂