The Fourteen Percenter April 2008
A publication for parents on the wrong side of the standard possession order.
- I see my child two days out of every fourteen; 14%. That's not enough. –
*****Celebrating Ten Years*****
The Fourteen Percenter celebrates ten years of publication with this issue. Here is a poem that rejoices in the first decade of a child's life.
Ten Years Have Gone By
Ten years have gone by
in the blink of an eye.
I rejoiced on the day of your birth
and knew my happiest day on earth.
I watched you as you learned to crawl,
then as you rode your bike down the hall.
And I'll never forget 'Training Wheel' day
when it fell off, and you went on your way.
Learning to read didn't happen overnight,
but when it did, it gave me delight.
Do you remember my exaltation
the day you learned to swim?
Now, in life, you are immersed,
and you take to it like a poet to verse.
Years 7, 8, 9; it blows my mind
how quickly the ages are left behind.
Newborn, infant, crawler and toddler,
little boy, big kid, youngster, young fellow;
Now you're ten; an in-between-ager.
I can't imagine the joy to come later.
But come it will, as I know it must,
in me, in you, in God we trust.
- by Don Mathis
Request for Articles
The Fourteen Percenter is an international newsletter that seeks to promote equal parenting rights in the US , the UK , and worldwide. Previous editions can be viewed at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NCP-TX-Grayson/message/1 (change the last digit to see other issues). We welcome feedback, as well as any article, poem, or review relating to the child-parent bond. Send your letters to FourteenPercenter@yahoo.com. The editor is grateful to http://www.a1laminating.com/ for regional printing.
A Divorced Father Reconnects With His Daughter -By Randell Turner
Used with permission
It was the smell that triggered the memory. The odor enveloped my senses, propelling me into an emotional time warp. Forgotten scenes replayed the episode like discovering a misplaced picture album in the back of the hall closet. For a brief moment, my mind willingly wandered through the memory.
It happened at the strangest of places: a roadside rest stop north of Columbus , Ohio . I was on my way to speak at a conference, stopping for a quick break. Preoccupied with the upcoming conference, I pulled open the heavy brown metal doors to the rest stop lobby and was greeted by the overpowering odor of chlorine, like you get from an indoor pool.
I don't know why it was there, but the pungent aroma reached past my conscious thoughts and unlocked the massive brass and wooden trunk of forgotten memories. My mind's recorder rewound to just the right spot and pressed play.
In a split second I was transported to an event four years earlier in Wisconsin . My two daughters and I were at the pool of the hotel where I always stayed during our visits. Hilary, my oldest daughter, had just gone back to the room to clean up before dinner. My youngest daughter Alison and I were in the pool goofing around, working on our synchronized swimming routines: turn, twist, dive, leap, gasp, cough, and so forth.
Caught up in the performance, Alison executed a backward underwater somersault too close to the bottom and struck her head on the pool floor. Panic stricken, I grabbed her and helped her regain her footing. Holding her head, tears beginning to flow, I pulled her close, hoping to ease her pain. She was eleven-almost twelve if you asked her - but it was like holding my little girl when she was three. We stood there, alone in the middle of the pool, tightly hugging each other. I said something to try to comfort her as her tears began to subside, but she said nothing.
That's when it happened. Even though she had stopped crying, she didn't let go, and neither did I. Time stood still.
We had reached out to each other because she was hurt, but we held on because this was something that we both had missed over the years living so far apart. No words were spoken. Our communication was beyond any words - a father's soul to a daughter's heart, both starving for this moment that neither thought would come, yet both hoping against hope. It was the hug that changed my life.
If you have never been separated from your children for long periods of time, you may not understand, though I'm sure you share a deep love for your children. However, if you're one of the thousands of fathers who are separated, divorced or incarcerated, you know exactly what I'm saying.
We long for the opportunity to patch a scraped knee, sooth a hurting spirit, or chase away the monsters under the bed. These little, yet significant moments pass us by as our children seem to grow up much faster when we're apart. We would like to be there at that moment when our children need us, perhaps just once when they're hurt from a bicycle fall or sad because of a classmate's unkind remark - just once. But for most of us, those moments pass us by.
Sure, we have our visits, and if our children get hurt we comfort them, but visits aren't real day-to-day life. They're condensed time capsules, crammed with an abundance of activities, trying to make up for lost time. Just when the visit begins to slow to a normal pace, it's time to take them home. All that fills the silence after the good-byes is the sad sensation that so many things were left undone or unsaid. You pledge to do them during the next visit, but by then she has grown so much that you need to find your bearings and get over the initial discomfort, and your visit time flies.
So now you understand why I say this was the hug that changed my life. For in that instant, an emerging young lady once again became "Daddy's little girl," a struggling father became a dad, both souls received a glorious answer to our desperate prayers.
Thank God for memories. They dearly hold what we hold dear, waiting to be relived again and again, arriving when we least expect them, triggered by a song, a familiar sight, or perhaps even a smell.
Randell Turner is the director of the Fathers Workshop, an organization that works to encourage and support fathers throughout Pennsylvania.
Release for the Press – from the magazine IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®
SHERMAN, TX . – 25 MARCH 2008 – Don Mathis is one of the key players in the Fatherhood Movement, the publisher of an international Fatherhood publication – The Fourteen Percenter (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NCP-TX-Grayson/message/50), a poet, and a father. A number of his poems – Woman Without a Soul, Netherlands Sacrifice, and My Son Turns 15 which celebrates his son Charlie's 15th birthday – have graced the pages of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®. Since 1998, Mathis, through The Fourteen Percenter, has been an eloquent voice for noncustodial fathers. In the Spring 2008 issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, Mathis talks about his role models, equal parenting, what motivated him to create and publish The Fourteen Percenter, and why the Fatherhood Movement is needed.
"The Fatherhood Movement is personal. It is one man's decision to be the best father he can be. The Fatherhood Movement is a worldwide phenomenon, too. Dads across the nation and the world are seeing the inequalities in the 'justice' system when it comes to single mothers and fathers. Men, women and grandparents are joining together to combat discrimination against dads in custody courts. Men are fighting on their own – in courtrooms and in letter-writing campaigns – to combat gender stereotypes. One of my goals is to dispel the notion that only one parent can be nurturing. A man's traditional role was that of provider and protector. But due to the disenfranchisement of dads, divorced men are now removed from the day-to-day lives of their children and relegated to only providers – child support providers. . . ," Mathis told IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® in a recent interview.
You can find out what else Mr. Mathis had to say about a variety of issues in the Spring 2008 issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® which is scheduled for distribution in May 2008. IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® is distributed on a subscriber basis in The Netherlands and the United States . For subscription or advertisement information, contact BSI International, Inc. via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org .