Do any of you feel as if you have just been through this extremely nasty divorce and the judge’s ruling just came down?  And it wasn’t what you wanted to hear in the least…namely “joint custody”?

You leave the courtroom, fuming, riddled with disbelief, and a complete lack of confidence in the judge, the very same one who will remain active in your life until your child is eighteen years of age.  You are left feeling defeated, struggling with how to go on, and wondering if you will ever feel happy again.

I tend to think that many of you are feeling this way right about now.  I think that because that is exactly what our nation has been through, an excruciatingly nasty divorce — the left from the right, conservative from liberal, Republican from Democrat.  Whatever you want to term the warring sides, we have.  And now as we move into this new phase in our history, we need to figure out how to co-parent our nation in a way that benefits it the most as opposed to each other.  

Given what we all have been through, everyone of us across the United States should look upon Valentine’s Day this year as more than just a holiday celebrated between two lovers but as a marker by which to fall back in love with our nation as a whole.  No doubt, this might seem like a hefty feat at the moment.  The result of not doing so today, however, will only add “insult to injury” in the long run.  We’ve all seen the damage done to children raised by divorced parents that can’t stop fighting.  Who wins in the end?  No one and especially not these children.  

All it takes is a single decision to make all the difference in the world with regards, coupled with the following ten measures in my opinion:

1.   You need to choose to be a mature grown-up, putting yourself behind the child;
2.   You need to realize that your child’s welfare and your welfare are the same thing;
3.   You need to realize that each party believes that “they know best” and stop hating each other for it;
4.   You need to put “love for your child” at the center of all your decisions and actions, regardless of your ex’s mindset in this regard;
5.   You need to be open to alternate points of view and learn to “take a step back” and fairly weigh them before you respond;
6.   If you are a faith-filled person, you need to lean on your faith and believe that your higher power continues to be all-knowing, all-seeing and in control;
7.   You need to lean on others for support, knowing that you are not alone in your experience;
8.   You need to remain grateful for all things large and small as well as each day, understanding that “the downside of coping with this particular reality is that you have someone worth doing it for, a big upside;”
9.   You need to be accepting of your personal anger for a period of time but then “let it go” as your own unique life won’t get better until you do;
10.  And lastly, you need to remember that “you still hold power” — maybe not over the entire situation but certainly over yourself, which tends to be the most important kind.  

So within those ten points, replace the word “child” with the word “nation” and read each one again. 

If we choose to begin here, not only do we lay the groundwork for a new day but a stronger United States, in its entirety.  This doesn’t mean you need to change your opinion, political affiliation or prayers for the future.  It just means you’re committed to doing your part to incite the cohesion that is, ultimately, best for the child — the same one everybody who loves this nation wants and has been called upon to do.

If there is any right way of going into this upcoming Valentine’s Day, I believe, this is it.  Let’s set the stage for the best of all possible outcomes, shall we?