|My father James White Maritz|
I was a single parent, my wife and I got divorced some 30 years ago when my son James was two and my daughter was only one. I got custody of the children but at the time had no idea what I was getting myself into, I was only 25 years old when this happened. I mean come on. Who at twenty five knows anything about life and raising children. Anyway, in this country, at the time, men just didn't get custody of their children, it was unheard of and so I was left with a situation where there was no government support, or any other support for that matter, should I need help. It became a matter of coping on my own, there was no one else to help.
|James and Shelley a long time ago|
I must tell you that I learned to cook really well and from the humblest of ingredients. Meals in our home included things like corn meal (pap in South Africa) with gravy and peas. Or stew on rice and on the very rare occasion even custard and jelly, Yum. There was orange cordial available most of the time when they needed something to drink but meals were nourishing and simple to say the least. One thing that I did make was coconut ice and my children loved it, me too, on the odd occasion I would make fudge too, double yum. Anyway we survived even if the rice was a little burned on occasion, what's a little carbon at mealtimes when you are hungry? They say that charcoal that is ingested is good for your digestive tract anyway, it cleans it out or something.
|Ouma and Oupa, Oupa, dad and mom|
Dad and of course James and Shelley
In the early days I knew nothing about God, not for the first five years or so. I only got to hear about Him after I was 30 something so this was a time when we were very much alone. There were occasional females in our lives but not many women's mothers are willing to have their daughters taking on another woman's children, not in those days. Things may have changed nowadays I that's no longer my problem, my kids have already grown up. Yes we all survived.
My father, (he died before my children were born, in fact their mother was his nurse when he was dying of cancer. That's how I met her in the first place) had taught me while he was alive, to treat everyone with respect and to treat women like ladies he treated my mother like a princess. Another thing he taught me was that if a job was worth doing it was worth doing well, in other words he believed in service excellence. All of this I passed on to my children and now look at them.
Shelley is the Service Excellence Auditor of Avis Southern Africa, James has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, toured Europe at his own expense, been part of the cast in many stage productions in the finest theatre in South Africa and may well be going to London with their next musical. They are both Christians who put other people's needs above their own and in everything give honour to God. I'm very proud of them.
|James on the way up Mount Kilimanjaro|
So now the reason for this Blog post:
I have noticed, in looking at the stats for my blog,that sometimes people find my blog through typing in words that somehow bring them to my site. Very often they seem to be looking for answers and encouragement when things are very tough and so since I have already come through some extremely difficult times as a single parent I think it about time I let them know that despite the uncertainty and struggle they will come through.
My relationship with my children goes far beyond that of other men I know, we are very close and would do anything for each other because we really love each other.
|Shelley and Dad on the farm|
Tell your children about Jesus. Teach them to respect others and to treat them with dignity, read them stories and have fun with them, take them fishing or for walks and you will see that in the end everything will work out for the best and they will turn out to be fantastic adults, just like my children did. It may not always be easy but hardship brings a family together and always having someone there to turn to is vital to their future parenting efforts. You'll see, everything's going to be OK.
To those of you who are just starting this journey I would like to give this piece of advice to: Get to know God and his son Jesus. Let Him be your partner and a father to your children, they will thank you for it later.
God bless all the single parents of the world, may they bring their children up in the knowledge of You.
"Start a boy on the right road, and even in old age he will not leave it." Proverbs 22 verse 6
|James self portrait|
|Shelley looking fantastic|