Saturday, November 05, 2011

Single Parenting

My father James White Maritz
Wouldn't it be nice if we could just get rid of all the distractions in life that draw us away from serving God. Well I think it would be fantastic but unfortunately things just don't seem to work out that way do they?
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
 Single, two minor children and twenty eight nappies a day to be washed by hand, I certainly couldn't afford disposable nappies then in fact I still can't. You become very resourceful when you are the only one who has to do everything. I remember rinsing the nappies out and then dumping the children in the bath with a cup full of washing powder and the nappies and leaving them there to play. I got really clean children and nappies that not even a washing machine (which I didn't have) could compete with and to top it all off, the children loved playing in the bath. Good memories indeed.
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


  1. Thank you so much Geoff for sharing this personal information about your past with us. I was never a single parent, but I do know several within my own family... and sometimes it gets pretty tough to raise kids by yourself. It is my prayer that others will read this post and take your advice on introducing Jesus to their children. God's blessings to you my friend. Lloyd

  2. Thanks Lloyd, me too.
    God bless my friend, Geoff.

  3. Such a great post! Love visiting your blog!

    Lola x

  4. Thanks for sharing bits of your life Geoff. It is helpful for me, as I am still raising my children, to know that if you stick to the Word, live the Word, the kids will turn out fine.
    Being only part way through the marathon, it is now that I need to pull on my reserves and keep putting one foot in front of the other till the finishing line.


  5. Well, rolling on the floor here... LOL about the 'washing' tub and the two little 'agitators'. Sounds like something from a movie... Mr. Mom?

    Hello Geoff, I know you've touched on this part of your life before--single parent raising the little ones. It is none of my business and I imagine you will never share what caused the divorce and why your wife did not have custody. I did not have custody of my children when I divorced (daughter 15, son 12) and I will simply say it broke my heart. Even though you raised the children, it is my prayer that they love and respect their mother.

    Yes, the children have done well, and quite attractive also. You are blessed.

    Too bad Blogger no longer allows us to increase the size of the photos so we could grab a better look at you and the kiddos. Tough times, I am sure.

    I am certain your children love and respect you immensely for all of your dedication and hard work taking care of them. Ahh... life can sometimes give us a real kick in the seat of the pants, eh?

    Live well and prosper, my fine-feathered South African friend. ;)

  6. I have been away from blogging for quite some time due to other obligations and opportunities. My first blog to catch up on was yours. And your story filled my heart with delight and confirmations. What a delightful story of "nappies".
    Even though you might have been poor in material things, you are rich in love. Blessings to you and yours dear Geoff.
    I agree so much you about making God a priority. My ex husband was not a believer and I put my faith aside for him. Alas, my grown children are apples from his tree more than mine. I continue to pray for guidance and revelation for all. Faith and hope persevere.

  7. Lola X,
    Thanks for the visit. I'm not sure how you landed up at my blog but I'm glad you did. I popped over to your's and decided to become a follower, didn't leave a comment though, I'll need to get to know you a little, you know what I mean? Anyway, I'll come over again later, after I've written my next post.

    Child of God Hi.
    It'll turn out just fine in the end. I know that there are times in out lives when we really have to knuckle down and keep going but the truth is that we either trust God and allow Him to help us or we try to deal with things on our own. Personally I choose to trust God even though there are times when things get very iffy. It'll be OK.
    Joy Hi.
    Yes I can imagine just how funny it must seem. Mr Mom, I like that.
    Yes I have written about it before and no I will probably not write about what happened, that's something that my children will have to write about should they choose to do so. Shelley sees her mother fairly regularly since they live on opposite sides of Johannesburg, James not very often, He lives near me in Cape Town. Other than that I would say they are on OK terms with their mom, we all have done things in our lives that we regret and they understand that too.
    Blessed, yes I am.
    I also noticed that about blogger getting the photo clicks wrong, we gotta get them to correct that. I personally don't see what the advantage is in their new idea, I like to click on pictures and see them bigger.
    Yes their love and respect is there even though it's not always evident, but hey, I love them and understand that they have their own lives to attend to and if I don't hear from them or they say things that make me wonder it's just because they are busy, not uncaring.
    You live well too my fine American friend and may the kisses of god land on your cheek like a down feather falling from under his mighty wing.
    One Woman's thoughts, Hi.
    Thank you and thank you.
    A mother has a very special influence on her children and I'm sure that over the years your love and understanding would have rubbed of on your children too.
    With you now once again trusting God with your life and them seeing that, they will in time come to you to ask about your faith. God can pull off miracles you know, you just keep on praying and trusting Him and things will come around. All in God's time and way.
    So to Lola X,Child of God, Joy and to you, God bless all of you, Geoff.