Getting What You Want The Most
On July 15th, Caitlyn Jenner will receive the ESPN Arthur Ashe award for courage and bravery. Many have said there are more deserving people to receive such an award. While that might be true, it’s really not for me or anyone else to say who is more brave or courageous than the next person when it comes to facing difficult things.
What I can say is that while I feel for the pain Bruce Jenner has endured throughout his life, and while right now Caitlin may in fact help kids struggling with their gender, I firmly believe he / she will in fact hurt far more children in the long run with the message of get what you want no matter how it affects others – my happiness trumps everything and everyone else!
Now I personally don’t care what Bruce / Caitlyn Jenner does nor is it any of my business to praise, condone or condemn it. However, when this person chooses to intentionally place their story in the public discourse so as to help others then my views are just as important and deserve to be heard as well.
I watched the Diane Sawyer interview the night it aired and was shocked – and yet not shocked at all – at how casually it was mentioned and glossed over, that Bruce Jenner twice left a marriage with a very young child because he wasn’t happy. He’s now left a third marriage because he wasn’t happy. Once again there are children, stepchildren and grandchildren that are affected regardless of their choice to support him or not.
We seem to be living in an unparalleled age of narcissism wherein people who have so much can never seem to get enough. I look at what Bruce Jenner’s life was like without that thing he seems to have wanted most and I see a man blessed with an abundance of family – the thing we all seem to say is most important. He was also blessed with fame and fortune and able to indulge in comforts and pleasures not available to most. He was also blessed with a platform through which he could dramatically affect the lives of others.
I see the lives of children of divorce, over half our nations children, and they don’t get the one thing they want most - their family. Rather, they get a bi-nuclear family that deprives them of the ability to enjoy both of their parents each and every day. They don’t get to indulge in and enjoy the comfort of living in one world with both of their parents and the lifelong stability derived from this. They also don’t get a platform on which to speak because their voice is generally drowned out by the chorus of applause given to the adults in their life – people who place their own personal happiness above everything else!
Lets be clear on the happiness issue as some distort this to support the narrative in which they’ve heavily invested themselves. People of all ages make statements regarding divorce that tend to be relative to the disaster of the divorce itself. When someone says, “it’s better for the kids to see us divorced than to see us unhappy together “ or “I am glad my parents got divorced because they are much happier now.” these statements are about the parent’s happiness.
The parent’s level of happiness post-divorce is not comparable to the level of happiness the children would have achieved if their parents, who were in love enough to get married and in love enough to choose to bring kids into the world, were willing to put their kids needs ahead of their wants. A conscious decision to work hard enough to fix marital problems and find that happiness again, giving their kids the family they want, deserve, and are entitled to is the most responsible decision.
So, ESPN, give Caitlyn Jenner an award for having the courage and bravery to go out and get the one thing that mattered most. Just be honest that in so doing, for whatever good Caitlyn Jenner does, Bruce Jenner has negatively impacted the lives of far more children through his contributions to the divorce culture that permeates our society. And if you’re going to show what Caitlyn’s life looks like with the thing she wanted most, then show what the lives of children of divorce look like when they don’t get the one thing they want most.