… from the bungalow

Promises Guide: 16-20 (4 of 20) – The Little Professor


This post comprises five promises from a dad to his son on five separate pages. At the bottom of each promise is a link to the next promise, or you can jump directly to a page within this post. Comments left will be visible on any of the five promise pages.

16) “I promise to always act in your best interest, even if that meant sending you to live with your mom. As much as I feel I need you here, I’ll never let that get in the way of you living your best life.”

Since buying my current house in August of 2009, my ex-wife and I agreed upon a rough two-thirds/one-third split. They’d live with me during the school year, and with her during the summer and on school breaks. This seems to be working out well. I especially like the arrangement because I honestly don’t know what my life would be without The Little Professor around every day. I get used to it in the summers, but I know he’s coming back. If he went to live with his mom full-time, or even two-thirds of the time, I imagine I’d get pretty severely depressed. Well, more severely depressed than I’ve already been. But if all parties (his mom, her husband, my wife and I) agreed that he would be better off living with his mom more than with me, I would totally agree to it, as much as it may hurt me. It’s not about me.

Do This

Be honest with yourself about whether your idea of what’s best for your kids is really, truly what’s best for your kids, and not what’s best for you. For the most part, I’m sure this is a no-brainer, but I think it’s easy to let thoughts become skewed when you’re dealing with an ex-spouse. You don’t have to be divorced, though. At all times and in all situations, try to be objective about whether your perspective is clear or muddied.

Take me back to the list!
Continue to the next promise–>


Author: Chris

Introspection to a fault. College administrator, parent, soapmaker.

9 thoughts on “Promises Guide: 16-20 (4 of 20) – The Little Professor

  1. Good promise, Christopher. Being objective is hard to do at baseline. Being objective about our kids is even harder, because being a good parent is so close to the way I suspect most of us (your readers) identify ourselves. Or how we want to identify ourselves, at least. For me it’s a lot harder to do when I’m in the heat of the moment, in the midst of strong emotions. Separating myself from the situation (giving myself a time out) is important at times, but that’s more for the day to day stuff. What you’re talking about here, in this example, seems to be about the bigger life decisions. I’m wondering what you or your readers are finding as helpful exercises to be closer to objective in making those decisions? How do you step back from your desires and needs and see what’s best for the kids?

    • You’re so right about removing yourself fro the situation! It’s almost impossible for me to make any rational decision when negative emotions are high. I’m currently working on how to avoid “lizard brain,” and how to deal with it effectively when I get to that point. It’s something Little Bird and I are both working on, actually.

      I think the process really isn’t different, just … more. More time, more thought, more removing. There have been times I’ve told my ex-wife, “I need some time to think about this. Can I have a couple of days to sleep on it?” She does the same with me.

      As far as specific exercises go, that’s a good question. One really simple thing that works for me is taking deep breaths. Never underestimate the power of deep breathing! Meditation, prayer, whatever you like to do that helps you be quiet and still. Once I’m in that place, I sometimes say out loud to myself, “My ego says _______, but my higher self says _______.” That seems to help clarify what’s really important. Also, doing things that help me think critically–left brain stuff–writing lists of pros and cons, etc. That tends to remove some of the emotion from the process.

      Speaking of emotions, I try to use them as a guidance scale. Again, this is only helpful if you’re able to remove yourself from that fight, flight, or freeze reaction. But then I try to sit with the feeling and ask myself, “Why am I feeling this way? What can I do to change how I feel about this?” Negative emotions mean we’re meeting resistance. When you keep that in mind, it’s really just a matter of finding a path of less resistance.

      Thanks for your great, pointed questions, Jody! I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog and doing the same for you. 🙂 And it may be easy to miss, but there are actually five promises in each of these posts. I’ve just separated them into pages. 🙂


    • Jody, I just started reading your blog, and I love it. I didn’t realize you were a licensed therapist. I’m a former music therapist, and some of my readers are currently practicing in therapeutic fields. I realize that I have a tendency to write in somewhat vague terms (no action items, not a lot of “tips”) but that’s because I usually feel like I’m in no place to tell others how to live. You know? Anyway, thanks for pushing me toward the specifics. I hope it’s helpful to others.

      • Christopher, Being a “Licensed Therapist” sounds so impressive, but let me tell you, I often feel I am living up to my blog’s name. I hear you on not wanting to tell others how to live. As a therapist I have to be very mindful of that. I do ask a lot of questions, and I guess I see part of therapy as being helping people clarify if they are really living the way they want to actually live. We get into habits of living as well as habits of thinking and simply being. Being asked questions can help us to stop and consider if we are living the lives we truly want to. Perhaps that habit of mine of asking questions bleeds over into comments 😀 but I think it helps spark conversations. At least, I hope it does. Just slap me if I’m asking too many. Also, I wonder if “tips or “action items” really are telling others how to live, or just giving suggestions or options. One of the many strengths in your blog that I’m seeing is that you don’t try to come across as an expert. I don’t think there is any such thing as “parenting experts.” But I do think people can have a certain “expertise in parenting” if that makes sense. Anway, I’m always open for suggestions. (When I’m not being defensive…)

  2. Fair is not making sure everyone gets the same thing. Fair is making sure everyone gets what they need.

    Thank you for not only making your list of promises, but also making this series of posts elaborating on them. Wonderful food for thought.

    En-joy the day.

  3. Pingback: Promises Guide: 11-15 (3/20) | ... from the bungalow

  4. Pingback: 100th Blog Post: 100 promises to my family | ... from the bungalow

  5. I nominated you for a Liebster this morning. http://wp.me/s271Tm-excited

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