by Lianne Castelino
I consider myself absolutely privileged to have met and continue to meet a wide range of people from all walks of life. As a journalist, I've had the added honour of walking into their lives, listening to their stories and being amazed and impacted time and again. I am always amazed by what they are willing to share, in the most genuine of ways.
There's a new name to add to that list. I met him last week. A man who raised his daughter and stepson for more than seven years by himself. A single father in the 80's when it was not in vogue, where judgmental glares from total strangers were more common than supportive smiles.
So many parts of his story were truly inspirational, none more so than his raw determination not to repeat history.
He didn't have fond memories of his own upbringing and even now in his 50's is not close to his parents. Then in his mid-twenties he married a women with a young son, a toddler. They had a daughter together. His marriage fell apart leaving him to raise two young kids under 5 by himself. He accepted the challenge and everything it represented, including fighting for the rights of single dads in the legal system, raising his kids, making meals, disciplining them, you name it.
Think about it – a divorced, single dad, with a biological daughter and stepson who chose to stay and home.
Even when his kids, as teens decided they wanted to live with their mother for a while, he accepted, allbeit heartbroken. I met his daughter, now in her 20's who had nothing but wonderful things to say about her father. You could tell watching them interact that it was a special relationship. Sure it had ups and downs, challenges and struggles, but it survived, stronger for the experience.
I commend this family for overcoming every obstacle thrown its way, for the resolve this single dad showed when he felt like he was on an island (for years), for rising above his own tough upbringing (drugs, alcohol, etc.,) to pave a new way for himself and his kids.
Being a single parent is riddled with challenges on so many levels. This story is filled with lessons all parents can learn from.
Watch for a complete profile of this single dad next week on Parents Talk on Rogers TV. www.rogerstv.com/parentstalk.
Trust me, you will be moved.