Today we will learn a lot from Charles Jackson’s history. Learning how to put family first and how to deal with divorce and the distance from his kids. A big cautionary tale that will certainly make better fathers out of all of us diversity dads.
“I am involved in their social media that my kids are on, the Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. I see those as the tools for me to keep a constant connection. It was a blended parenting watching because I wasn’t there every day, I’m not there to hear the small conversations but to really monitor what my children are posting, what are their thoughts, what are they responding to that may be an influence up there and try to understand that but to also pick up the habits of using these tools. I snapchat the goofy faces to my kids just to kind of keep that connection with them. It is constant communication.”
From using social media to shorten the distance from our children to the importance of keeping in touch and keeping constant contact when we dads are far away, Charles will share some of his struggles and lessons learned from living far away from his children.
“For me is when I hear them overcome the objectives they have, I look at my youngest and right now the focus for her has been school. We will talk about her classes and she will talk about how hard her classes are but she will say “you know dad, I got flash cards” or “I put this app on my phone to overcome Spanish” or “Science is really difficult, but I am looking at some youtube videos to help me understand things”. I think that is the proudest moment because I feel like that is what we are here to do, we teach our kids how to deal with life as it comes. For her to have that smartness to say “I am going to go look at other resources” that is my chemistry, so I feel like that is my child right there.”
We have had other divorced dads on our show and the message is still the same, a message that is still very powerful to any dad out there, make sure that the environment when things get bad don’t impact the kids in a negative way. Charles Jackson will reinforce that message from his very own perspective.
“It was very challenging, divorces can be complicated. One of the things that we didn’t want to do was make sure that the kids were mixed into those complications. Being able to get up there and see them on a regular basis and going through some of the things at the time, financially it wasn’t permissible at times. A trip up there, gas, hotel, doing things with the kids because I wasn’t going go up there and just have them sit in a hotel room with me all day but to do things with them it took money that sometimes I didn’t have. It was difficult. It was difficult at the beginning to try to see my children on a regular basis as much as I wanted to.”
We hope that Charles Jackson’s history teaches you as much or even more than it taught us. And inspires us to go to the next level and become better dads, and parents, tomorrow than we were yesterday.
“I used to get those questions at the beginning. Probably the first couple of years after the divorce, you know “why am I away”. The situation was that my wife moved away and then it would be the question “why didn’t you follow” or I would get the comment from other men, black, white, other cultures, who would make comments about “I would always be by my children”, I mean, it was a hard pill for me to swallow at the time but I knew the environment that it would create, being as close as I was to my ex at the time and I didn’t want my children to be part of that environment. There was still a lot of negative feelings and negative impulses from the divorce that I didn’t want my children to be victim to. So I felt that the distance was something that was best suited and I would just have to put in a lot of the extra work to try and keep that connection with my kids.”
“Probably the biggest one is just not putting work first for a lot of years in my daughters young age and during my first marriage, I put work first a lot because I felt that career an money was the foundation of stabilizing our family and making sure that the roof was over our heads and the lights were on and things of that nature. I took some real hard knocks in life to understand that it was more about me first. I had to learn to really balance that out. To make sure that the kids were taken care of first. I didn’t see that growing up. I didn’t have a family environment where I see God, Family, and Career in the household. So I didn’t know what that looked like. I missed a lot of opportunities with the kids, I was there for some key moments, the first bike ride, letting them go, watch them take those pedals, there is a lot of memories I cherish, but there was a lot of opportunities that I recognise I missed because I stayed in work late, or because I took shifts I didn’t need to take.”
“I think you have to create a discipline. For me it was a discipline. I didn’t have the kind of job where I physically brought work home. I didn’t have to log into a computer when I got home and do extra work that way. That was definitely some saving grace, but I carried enough of a responsibility as a store manager to bring it mentally home and think about things that I needed to do tomorrow most of the night. So it was really messing me up. It was messing my whole family dynamics up. My children would have homework, I am helping them but they are not getting my full attention and I am not understanding where I am not being as helpful where I am so the minute the transition happens everything felt more in line. I was better at math and helping them with the math homework, my wife at the time, she was better at the grammar piece. I think when you let work be where it is at, being at home 100%, I mean 100%, can’t be 90%, can’t be 80%. It is very magical and you become a different kind of man, you become a better father at home.”
“Let’s learn together. Let’s grow together. Let’s be dads together. Peace.”