I have witnessed students in my teaching career who were fully rebelling at new family situations. My personal blended family experience, however, is very positive. What are the differences and factors in these circumstances?
My father and mother divorced when I was 16. My mother had sufficient biblical grounds as my father had committed adultery (Matt. 5:32). With a forgiving heart, she kept trying to make it work.
When she asked what I thought she should do, I said that we couldn’t trust him anymore as he continued his cheating ways. She doubted that she could cope, but she heeded my input and made the break.
After a few years of adjustments and, no doubt, loneliness for her, a gentleman of integrity began courting Mom (alcohol never touched his lips, nor did cursing or harsh words from what I observed). He had lost his wife several years earlier to cancer. He and mom dated for a few years and were married.
New Family Members
My stepdad had three children older than I, all with their own families at various stages. My sister was older with a young family as well. So I did become part of a different sort of blended family.
I’d note that I’m coming from a much less complex experience than that of Leah and Scott Silverii and other blended families with younger children. I was the only youth remaining at home, even at that it was during two years of university and two of early work years.
What strikes my memory is the warmth of reception and interaction between each new adult step-sibling and their young families. We bonded so well.
I took my oldest stepsister’s two boys on a special outing. I attended my new family’s large family Christmas. My wife to be and I also took my stepbrother’s two sons on a special outing. We even had my stepbrother’s son as ringbearer in our wedding.
We didn’t live together as siblings, so there were fewer complications to work through.
My stepdad passed away over seven years ago. I admit that the contact between us step-descendants has basically decreased to nothing, likely since we connected later in life and have different backgrounds. But why did it work so well for the married years of our parents’ lives?
Joy in Renewed, Simple Living
The answer is simple. We were thrilled because our parents were blessed to find each other. They had remained faithful to their God through the death of one spouse and the betrayal of another. His Grace was sufficient.
It’s uncertain whether we as children realized God’s hand at the time, but at least we realized that our parents were gifts to each other.
What a life of contentment I observed between my mother and stepdad: devotions together every morning; church events a priority; daily trips to the coffee hangout for fellowship; enjoying time with all grandchildren; golf or curling weekly together; and all dinners and evenings together.
The pastor commented at the funeral service that my stepdad was a man of contentment. He greeted church goers weekly with a bulletin, handshake, smile, and some humorous banter.
He also ate an apple every evening. The epitome of health and simplicity, yet far from being dull. I learned so much from him, and I’m richer for being part of a blended family.
I also learned that if my mom and dad had longed for a simple life and prioritized their God, then each other, and thirdly, their children, it likely wouldn’t have come to infidelity and divorce.
Obviously, young children in the middle of fairly selfish years can’t maturely reflect on the benefits of being in a blended family, nor always give the respect, cooperation, and honor their parents deserve. Pray that they increase in grace and gratitude over time.
It certainly helps if the adults are people of integrity. I’ve seen children at school legitimately rebelling at the infidelity, or immorality, or the new relationship established by parents.
Some children are intentionally acting out, for others it is a natural by-product.
But prayer and God’s grace can achieve the supernatural amongst us most natural human beings.
Keep it simple.
Seek the simple things in life.
Do what’s right.
Remember the childhood songs…like Jesus Loves Me.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10