Boston, MA–The Boston Globe panned Fathers & Families” shared parenting bill, HB 1460, in a long editorial last Saturday, February 23. If you think this editorial is a defeat, then you probably think Mike Huckabee has suffered a string of defeats — “defeats’ that have taken him from obscurity to primetime. Likewise, we have now made shared parenting primetime in Massachusetts. This isn”t too satisfying if your child is slipping out of your life because an obtuse family court judge didn”t understand that she needs more of you than four days per month. And there is enough nonsense in the editorial to make any true parent bristle with indignation. But for those of us who have the good fortune to be able to take the longer view, consider these big positives:
- Our movement, long considered the province of wingnuts, is now taken seriously.
- Fathers & Families is fighting for a vision “in which fathers have the time and access to be a positive presence in the lives of their children.’
- “It”s a goal with great merit.’
- “Children should have both parents in their lives sharing daily tasks such as homework and household chores as well as big events. . . “
- “. . . it makes sense for judges to maximize the role of fathers. . .
- “One challenge, though, is expanding this culture [more shared parenting]. . . “
- “. . . the legal system can protect children. . . by making sure judges. . . protect the place of fathers as well as mothers. . . “
In other words, shared parenting is good! But they just don”t like our bill our bill as the solution. Our job now is to build on this foundation. Please email the Globe at firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to us at email@example.com Tell them why your child needs shared parenting and can”t get it from today”s family courts. Also send a copy to Governor Deval Patrick. Our goal: 200 emails. Women, help us out — your words count for a lot. Keep four points in mind:
- Letters over 250 words are rarely printed.
- Talk about your kids, not yourself.
- Curb your anger. You are entitled to be angry, but venting will hurt our movement. Just tell the facts.
- Stay on topic. Don”t write about restraining orders, child support, the DOR etc.
We”d like to know what you think of the editorial, so leave us your comments below. (Note: The editorial grew out of a meeting between two Globe editorial writers and Ned Holstein and Peter Hill. Peter deserves credit for seeking and obtaining the meeting.)