broken home

I was talking to Mrs. V,  the other day. Mrs. V is the 1st grade teacher I work with. We’d had an assembly that morning to recognize students for good behavior and school work, and *Sarah had won Mrs. V’s class award. Sarah’s mother was at the ceremony, and with her was someone I guessed was her dad.

I was wrong.

Mrs. V told me later, while we were watching the kids at recess, that she’d asked Sarah who had been with her mom. (It was true that the man had looked nothing like Sarah.) Sarah told her, wide-eyed, that that was John. She said John spent the night at their house a lot, and that he really liked her mom, but that “Fletch comes over a lot, too. We’re still waiting to find out which one’s my sister’s daddy.”

—> This from the same little girl who came crying to me at recess because she missed her mom and didn’t understand why she was left at after-school care every day until it closed. “She doesn’t even work,” she sobbed.

When she told me the story, Mrs. V chuckled, as though it were funny. I, on the other hand, couldn’t see the humor. Maybe Mrs. V’s been around public schools longer, and I don’t mean to judge, but . . . That poor child.

For an interesting article on the kids and broken homes, click here: How many kids grow up with their married mom and dad?


*Name changed


16 thoughts

  1. That is pretty sad. On both parts, the story and how the other teacher reacted.

    I even see this at work. Dealing with the employees from the lower end of the spectrum. After a while, the management just views them as lazy or stupid. I see them a bit differently. Some are just poorly educated and have a thin grasp on how business operates. Some are from countries that were corrupt so they do not trust social programs or even authority.

    But in this case, it is sad to see the children being groomed to be the next person stuck in a conveyer belt of poverty.

    • Yeah, I was rather sad by the way Mrs. V reacted, too. Mrs. V is actually young and has a young kid herself. But she’s been teaching in the public school system for several years. I guess she’s just used to this kind of thing.

      You’re right that our backgrounds and education play a big role in how we approach life and work. I worry for Sarah’s future, too.

      Thanks for reading, Steve. It’s always good to hear from you.

  2. This is too much realness and emotional burden for a little girl :(. First line of the article you linked to is also tragic, “It’s not normal these days for a teen to live with their married mom and dad.” Your job is tough. It’s wonderful that these kids have you as a teacher.

    • Alas, I am only a teacher’s aide. But the kids do come to me and trust me, so I hope I am able to make a difference. And I agree that the first line of that article is tragic. It’s a sad world we live in.

  3. People who are that oblivious to their children are utterly despicable. You are too sweet to judge; I am not. My daughter, when her mother was her custodial parent, watched the parade of men her mother slept with for years. And she’s observant enough to even know when they’d got their fill of sex and crazy and broke up with her mother. My wife and I were appalled by the ‘day care’ she was in when we went to pick her up on the weekends I had her. (And for the record, we’re glad that we now have custodial care of her so she’s not subject that any more).

    As you no doubt see, children are often much more sharp then most of the adults in their lives give them credit for. I think your coworker is jaded and callous. Thanks for caring enough that you’re unable to see the humor, Jessica.

    • You’re right that kids are far more observant than adults often give them credit for. It’s truly sad the things many kids are put through these days. I’m sorry for what your daughter was subjected to. Sorry that we live in a world with things like this to see.

      Alas… At least there are those of us who are not jaded and callous. There’s hope in that, at least.

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Matt.

      • Thanks, Jessica. I am glad we now have custody of my kiddo so she’s no longer subjected to that. And she’s much happier and thriving now, too. I hope you’re able to make a positive difference for some of your students.

  4. What a sad situation but definitely not an isolated case. Some many of the families I see are broken with real system issues that inflict deep wounds and unhealed scars. May God give you wisdom in knowing how to care and meet the needs of this girl and the other children you work with.

    • Thank you, Sophia. And yes, this is definitely not an isolated case. I am grateful for the opportunity to make any impact at all on these precious children’s lives. I need God’s wisdom, indeed!

  5. I think the toughest thing we as adults will ever face (especially I think when we have lived pretty sheltered and privileged lives) is to see kids who simply will not have the opportunities at happiness like we had. This is not to say they will not or cannot be happy (many excel in life), but that they will have a much tougher road. It is good that you are there to help them find that path (or at least see the light at what is possible…).

  6. Man, match this one up with the “not happening here” video and you’re just a bucket of sunshine and cheer…sigh.

    I used to coach AAU youth basketball for young girls (various teams, from 8 to 14) and the hardest part was seeing those couple of kids, every year, whose adults weren’t getting it right.

    The worst day I ever had was when the non-custodial father showed up at a tournament. I’d coached his kid since she was 8, four years, and while she had occasionally missed a weekend game because it was “his weekend” I had never met the man himself. We’d easily played more than 100 games over the years, and he’d never come to one. When he showed up, she was thrilled–it was right in the middle of the game, but I noticed that he lingered in the doorway for a few minutes then left again. At the end of the game, I saw him arguing with the mother. A few minutes later, my player was packing up and leaving with her dad, tears in her eyes–it had been “his weekend” but the parents had switched so she could play in the championship game to be held later that night. Well, it turned out the father was able to get free tickets to a Steelers game the following weekend, so he decided at the last minute that the switch was off and since he’d put nothing in writing, he simply came to the game and told his ex that if she didn’t let him take their daughter home and count that weekend, that he’d report her for not complying with the custody agreement and it would be her word against his. Did I mention he was a cop?

    A lot of stuff went through my mind–that little girl wasn’t the nicest kid I knew, and since then her hard outer shell has gotten harder and thicker–but that stuff adds up. I could not believe that he would make the effort to drive an hour to our game site just to take her home, and NOT STAY in the gym to watch his kid compete–or make the time to stick around and watch her hoist a trophy. Even stranger, he made no effort to meet me–the guy who spent hours and hours with his little girl every week. I don’t think I could ever be in a classroom environment, with so many more kids and so dysfunction and heartbreak.

    • That’s a horrible story. That poor girl. And how many millions out there just like her… I have more stories of kids I’m working with now that simply break my heart. Yup, it’s that idealist, and it’s likely to be the death of me.

      Haha. Sorry if my posts all seem downers. I’m intense in virtually every aspect of my life, and it definitely comes out in my blog! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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