Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Copyright 2008 Soderman Consulting

Last weekend, I attended a mandated seminar by the county on parenting through a divorce. Appropriately, these are called COPE classes. These classes are mandatory for anyone divorcing who has a child that will be affected by the divorce.

So here I was, on a warm Saturday morning, sitting in the lecture hall of a library waiting for the seminar to start. Around me were individuals of differing ages, from both genders. Some looked relieved to be there, others like they were being held at gunpoint.

I was surprised by how many people there were in attendance. I don't know if this class was typical, but there were 30-40 people in attendance. This means 30-40 families and at least as many kids were being affected by divorce. They hold this class multiple times each week. Over the course of the month, this means hundreds of families touched by the end of a marriage.

The class was administered by two professionals in social work and psychology, both of whom have also been divorced, and have helped hundreds - if not thousands - of others through the over 15-year-old program.

The stats are staggering. Over 50% divorce rate in the US, many of which involve children. So much so that if current trends continue, single parent homes will surpass the number of two-parent homes. And those kids are what the COPE program is all about.

Their focus, from start to finish, is on the kids. According to their statistics, divorce only really had a lasting effect on 20% of the kids involved. But how do you know your kid is in the 80% unaffected?

You don't. And that's the point of the seminar. You may not see the signs of how they are affected for years. In fact, some folks may not manifest the signs until well into adulthood, when relationships of their own suffer. Such is the legacy of divorce on a child. So the class is designed to help you understand how a child might be affected, what signs to look for, and how to minimize the negative effects of divorce on your kids.

Many jurisdictions now make this type of seminar mandatory, and all should. The information is valuable and a vital to helping us raise our children in a healthy manner in spite of a divorce. But they should go further. The coping skills required are difficult to learn in such an emotional charged and painful situation. They should mandate the adults go through such a seminar to deal with each other in this situation. Many folks go into divorce looking not to separate from their spouse, but to punish them. The only ones that win are the attorneys.

Parents who are considering divorce should really attend one of these classes, whether mandated or not. You don't need to go together, but you should go. These classes, and the great folks that run them, will help you get through one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can go through, and come out ok on the other side. Tags: ,,,,


Technorati Tags: ,,,,

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rock Lobster

Rock Lobster Montage by Jahdakine One way I've made the morning commute more interesting is to put some songs on my iPod that Carolyn might like. I figured this would be an easy and fun way to pass the time. The playlist is Carolyn Fun, and it has a wide variety of music. For example, I found an old harmonica of mine and gave it to her, and now she can (basically) play Billy Joel's "Piano Man". She's darned close on the chorus, and it's a hoot to listen to her play along.

Her next conquest - to my surprise, was "Rock Lobster" by the B52s. She not only has most of the lyrics down, but the sound effects as well. When they say "in flew a sea robin", she follows it with the requisite "lalalalalala". And she gets a kick out of the "bakin' potatoes, bakin' in the sun" line.

Other faves include Smashmouth's "AllStar" (it was featured in Shrek), "Cuban Pete" by Desi Arnaz, and "Banana Boat Song" by Harry Belafonte. Of course, she gets on one and I have to play it two or three times before we get to school, but it just makes for a happier trip.

If you've got a fair commute each morning, try coming up with your own set of faves to get your energy up. It's hard to listen to Rock Lobster without at least tapping your feet!

"Look out for that piranha!"

(By the way, click on the fun image above. If you know the song, you'll find the images perfect!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Something Interesting While Googling

I was putting together a bio for myself, for a freelance writing application. I was looking to see the earliest reference I could find of myself on the 'Net (1994 , if you're curious), when I came across an interesting hit.

Apparently, there's a ship in the US fleet named the Soderman, a Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-on, Roll-Off ship used for transporting an Army Armor Task Force including 58 tanks, 48 other track vehicles and more than 900 trucks and other wheeled vehicles. Basically, it's a converted supercargo ship.

It's named after US Army Private First Class William A. Soderman. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for risking his life to save others during World War II. This intrigued me, so I decided to do a little more digging. This is what his citation reads:

Armed with a bazooka, he defended a key road junction near Rocherath, Belgium, on 17 December 1944, during the German Ardennes counteroffensive.

After a heavy artillery barrage had wounded and forced the withdrawal of his assistant, he heard enemy tanks approaching the position where he calmly waited in the gathering darkness of early evening until the 5 Mark V tanks which made up the hostile force were within pointblank range. He then stood up, completely disregarding the firepower that could be brought to bear upon him, and launched a rocket into the lead tank, setting it afire and forcing its crew to abandon it as the other tanks pressed on before Pfc. Soderman could reload.

The daring bazookaman remained at his post all night under severe artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire, awaiting the next onslaught, which was made shortly after dawn by 5 more tanks. Running along a ditch to meet them, he reached an advantageous point and there leaped to the road in full view of the tank gunners, deliberately aimed his weapon and disabled the lead tank. The other vehicles, thwarted by a deep ditch in their attempt to go around the crippled machine, withdrew.

While returning to his post Pfc. Soderman, braving heavy fire to attack an enemy infantry platoon from close range, killed at least 3 Germans and wounded several others with a round from his bazooka. By this time, enemy pressure had made Company K's position untenable. Orders were issued for withdrawal to an assembly area, where Pfc. Soderman was located when he once more heard enemy tanks approaching. Knowing that elements of the company had not completed their disengaging maneuver and were consequently extremely vulnerable to an armored attack, he hurried from his comparatively safe position to meet the tanks.

Once more he disabled the lead tank with a single rocket, his last; but before he could reach cover, machinegun bullets from the tank ripped into his right shoulder. Unarmed and seriously wounded he dragged himself along a ditch to the American lines and was evacuated.

Through his unfaltering courage against overwhelming odds, Pfc. Soderman contributed in great measure to the defense of Rocherath, exhibiting to a superlative degree the intrepidity and heroism with which American soldiers met and smashed the savage power of the last great German offensive.
To me, this sounds like movie stuff. The guy stood up to a tank not once, not twice, but three times. It really reads like a movie script.

It's quite possible that he is related. And if so, it's an honor.