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Getting sacked from "the blind side"

Posted by Fatherhood Blog

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Apr 30, 2010
Few are surprised that Sandra Bullock filed for divorce last Friday from Jesse James, who admitted to having an affair while Bullock was filming The Blind Side. It's ironic and sad that Bullock's husband abandoned his marriage vows while she won an Academy Award for a movie about a strong, intact family. As we’ve said numerous times on The Father Factor related to Tiger Woods, Jon Gosselin, and Steve McNair, when celebrities violate their marriage vows, it’s not only publicly humiliating, but it leaves a hurtful legacy for their children.

What makes the Bullock-James divorce unique from other celebrity splits is that they were in the process of adopting a 3 ½-month-old boy from New Orleans named Louis, whom Bullock will now raise as a single mom. James has said that losing Louis has "left a huge hole in [his] heart."

Interesting choice of words… NFI President Roland C. Warren often says that children have a hole in their soul in their shape of their dad, and when their dad is not able or willing to fill that hole it leaves wounds that aren’t easily healed.

Little Louis will now join the ranks of the 24 million children growing up without their fathers, and, given the actions of the man who almost was his adoptive father, the hole in his heart could bring some unique pain.

New York Times columnist David Brooks addresses Bullock’s simultaneous cinematic success and relational troubles, and more specifically what family breakdown says about our culture’s priorities, in an article titled "The Sandra Bullock Trade." Brooks connects the dots between marital happiness and overall well-being – a connection that he says our culture doesn’t make very well in how we educate our youth, where we focus more on preparing for careers than preparing to make social decisions.

NFI agrees with Brooks that we need to invest more time in preparing youth to make good decisions – and we think marriage is one of the most important ones. Thus we created Why Knot?, a marriage-readiness program designed to prepare young men to make the decision to get married and subsequently to be good husbands to their wives (and by extension, good fathers to their kids). For pre-teen boys, we created Boyz2Dads, an interactive CD-ROM that helps boys prepare to make good choices related to relationships and peer pressure.

Jesse James’s behavior has not provided a good example of a husband and father to his children, but he seems to be on the right road toward fixing that by admitting his faults and seeking help. Meanwhile, NFI is working to promote a culture that prepares youth for the important responsibilities of being a husband and father – a mission we take seriously when so many children like Louis lack that role model. We don’t want to see other families, as Brooks puts it, “getting sacked from the spiritual blind side.”

Topics: David Brooks, Jesse James, The New York Times, the blind side, Sandra Bullock

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