"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Responsibility: the state or fact of being responsible. (2)A particular burden of obligation upon one who is responsible: the responsibilities of authority.(3)A person or thing for which one is responsible: A child is a responsibility to its parents.

" 'tis a happy thing. To be the father unto many sons." 
-Shakespeare: Henry VI, Part III 

 "Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
-Psalms 127:3-5  

In life, each and everyone us will be responsible for something. We will be responsible for our car, our career and the care of our body. We will responsible for paying our bills, on time preferably, and the safety and security of our home. Commercials remind us to "drink responsibly" and I know for a fact I will encourage, and remind often, my future son-in-law to be responsible with my daughter; his wife. I feel sick to my stomach just typing that last sentence. I can assure you right now if my future "knucklehead-in-law" even gets "cute" for just a second I will bring so much physical harm to him that they will take me away in cuffs never to be seen again. Ok... I feel a little better now. I'm not playing either, that little girl is my life... she means everything to me.  "Yeah, I'm talking to you pal. Wipe that grin off your face... I'm not smiling."

Sorry for the slight bend in the road. The point I'm trying to make is that we all have responsibilities in our lives.

That's universal.

What's also universal is that the biggest responsibility anyone can have as an adult, or as a child for that matter, is the raising of a child. Our children come into this world totally dependent upon us for their every need and they look to us for safety, security and sensible behavior on our part.

The home we provide for our children is vital. 

At the end of the day, It doesn't matter the size of the house or the apartment your family lives in, or if our dwelling is appointed with the finest of furnishings or if your living space is humbly decorated. It doesn't matter if our counter tops are granite or gravel, if we have a three car garage or we have to park on the street. What is of the highest importance is that we provide, protect and support our children.

Aristotle is credited with saying these words: "the family is the first school of human instruction." We are our child's first teacher; that statement, and those words, are powerful, sobering and truthful. The day our children are born we immediately become teachers whether we want to be or not. Our children will watch us for an entire lifetime, and while they're watching they take notice of how honest and trustworthy we are, how we handle disappointment and conflict, and finally, if our actions match our words.

They will also watch to see if we admit when we are wrong.

They will watch, and they will watch closely.
Our children will not be the only people watching. Our friends and the community at large will observe how we parent and discipline, and the value we put on education. Everyone will have opinions on our ability to parent correctly and many will evaluate our ability to provide for our children's needs and wants with a critical eye. 

That last sentence is no more true than with a family that experiences a divorce. 

People from a far, family and friends alike, all seem to have a comment, critique and or opinion on how everyone is parenting; not parenting. The commentary can be caustic, critical and with a spirit of condemnation. At other times the words can be encouraging, full of praise and admiration.

Many times the conversation is centered around money and time. Specifically, is father paying his child support and is he spending time with his child; children. 

Is he being responsible.
Both are equally important. The quality time we spend with our child will provide memories for a lifetime and create lasting impressions. The time not spent with our children will be lost forever, never providing an opportunity for do overs. The money we provide is vital and important to the kind of childhood our children will experience. Money isn't everything but it can, and often is, a game changer in many ways.

I could read, and write, countless books on the importance of spending time with your children but at the end of the day it's pretty simple; either you are or you're not spending quality time with your children. There was a time in my life that I wasn't. Sure, I got my oldest two (Logan & Austin) on my weekend but I didn't go out of my way to get them at other times. I could've done more.

The behavior was short lived but I still committed it none-the-less.

The one thing I always did though was pay my child support.

Every responsible around the country has done the same.

Fathers and mothers are vital to raising a child.

Even when I was without a job, once I gained employment I tackled all of the back child support that accumulated over a very short period of time. Again, I believe many fathers around the country have done the same and I also believe that many mothers are appreciative of this truth.

So that's what I want to discuss; money. More specifically, the money that is expected to be provided over and above that which is child support. I want to tackle the issues of "needs versus wants", responsible giving and the recognition of varying budgets within a divorced family.  

Allow me to share. 

Needs versus Wants 

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. I couldn't agree more. This is no more evident than within a a family that splits-up. Grandparents, step-parents and friends alike are all called to a higher level of responsibility when children are caught in the cross hairs of a divorce. I don't think anyone can count the true cost of a divorce, but I do believe that the burden that is felt by everyone involved is tremendous. The mother is often left with the burden of raising the kids without daily physical support from the father. She is often, if not almost always, on the front line battling everyday life. Single mothers on average do not get a lot of money and they get even less time accomplish daily affairs. Fathers seem to have more time to spend as they want, but are so burdened financially that they can barley live (this isn't always the case but seems to be a reoccurring theme in poor and middle-class America). And the kids... the children are whirled around physically, mentally and emotionally on a daily basis that its any wonder they survive. divorce is awful for all involved. There is no denying that. So it goes without saying that when a family decides to call it quits the needs become more of a focus, and are paramount, versus the wants. I'm not fully convinced that everyone gets that or that they are on the same page with that truth. We all have wants, but all of our wants are not meant to be fulfilled. What is paramount and important for every parent to provide for their children is their needs: food, shelter, healthcare and clothing. Needs are important. God promised in his word to meet all of our needs:

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4:19 

 He also told us not to worry about these needs:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
-Matthew 6:25-27 
The difference between needs and wants is delayed gratification, and money. We don't need everything we want and we certainly shouldn't get everything we want when we want it. Plus, we can't afford everything we want. There are needs and there are greed's. Some people spend an entire lifetime never knowing the difference between the two. As a father my main goal is to meet my children's needs and in doing so not to be shamed, made to feel guilty or punished for not providing all their wants. Delayed gratification is something I as a parent should model and teach. Have I always been a good steward in this area? No, but I do feel that the need is there for every parent to educate their children in this arena. M. Scott Peck puts it this way in his book "The Road Less Traveled":

"Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to live."

I don't expect every child to understand that statement, but it would be my hope that every adult parent sees those words as imperative to mature growth and, part and parcel, to not living life as a prisoner to their own wants and desires.

Case by Case

When we as parents find ourselves in a situation that our money is no longer shared and pulled together there has to an understanding that each request for money is to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. I don't think it is wise to say no every time our children, or in this case their mother, ask for money; nor do I think it's a good idea to say yes each and every time something financial is requested either. When there are multiple children, multiple needs and even more wants there has to be an agreed upon decision by both parties to evaluate each request and prioritize what is important. I think this line of thinking is paramount when a man has multiple children with multiple women. I have six children from four different women, one being my wife, and in that situation there is only so much to go around. There is no one to blame for that scenario but me, and I'm equally positive many don't feel sorry or have much empathy for me in my situation  -and why should they... their my kids-  but with that being said, I have always tried to do my best and do what is fair. As a father with many children there has to be an understanding that every want can't be accomplished through me. Some people recognize and understand this reality better than others. In the end I think it is important as a father not to explain nor to complain about the situation surrounding my finances. I believe it's wise to set expectations financially after the child support has been awarded and to simply let my "yes" be "yes" and my "no" be "no" in the area of money.

Your Budget is not My Budget

My thoughts on this are very simple. I don't know your budget and all your financial demands, and you don't know my budget and all my financial needs. Your budget is not my budget. I'm fine with that. What I'm not fine with is having my money spent by another person. I'm ordered, like almost all men and some women, to pay child support and that I do; I would gladly pay if I wasn't ordered to. It's my responsibility to do so. But what isn't my duty, obligation and or responsibility is to provide for the many wants that people so often have. If there are "wants" that are above and beyond what child support will support then you have two options: (1) pay for it out of your own pocket, or (2) go without it. A third option is to have both parties sit down and discuss if it's possible to meet the demands that have been put before us and then decide if all involve can afford this proposed "want". Again, I'm not talking about food, shelter, clothing and healthcare... those items aren't optional, there needs. In the end, another person shouldn't make decisions with another person's money in mind. If the amount of child support doesn't support what you want to do then you don't do it... if you decide to do it, then that is on you. 

I don't have one of these in my backyard...

The reason I wrote this piece is simple; I'm tired of being attacked for not doing more or "enough". Below is just a few examples of what I'm talking about:

This comment is from my first wife's husband who felt the need last month to send these words via email after he read (thanks for reading) a few of my pieces on mybabyroc:
  • Yeah, sounds real good Shawn. You have created a pretty reality here but it is not true. The people that really know you know that this is all pure, unadulterated bullshit. Support your family...are you kidding me.
I didn't respond... and why should I. What you acknowledge you give life to. The one thing I do know is that I've paid over $367,000 in child support since 1993. $330,000 of that has been paid to my three oldest boys.

I don't deserve a medal for that. It was my responsibility to provide for my boys financially.

In the end, the boy's mothers, grandparents, step-parents, boy friends and step-grandparents have spent a lot of money on these boys. No one has went hungry last I checked.

The following words are from an email I received from my 16 year old's mother. She's a real peach.


I sent you an email looking for support for Bryce's Football Meals for the season.  I never heard back from you and she hasn't been paid.  Wanted to know if you could handle this because I can not this year.  I can send Bryce with a packed lunch because I've done all the camps and equipment, textbooks and tuition with no assistance at all.  So Bryce understands that he may not be able to eat with the team this year.  With reduced child support and a decreased salary he will have to get it!  Nonetheless, something needs to be communicated to the Hill Family because they are waiting for payment and are willing to make alternative arrangements for those that can't.  And Bryce happens to fall into that category.

Please let me know if you can help your son be provided meals at school to participate in his desired sport.

*A little sidebar; Bryce's mom went on vacation to Hawaii four weeks after she sent this email. 

My response...

I get tired of your no assistance at all comments. I've paid child support his entire life and I will continue to until it is finished. I find you very rude, dismissive and arrogant. I know he is my son and he will always be my son. I will pay no more than the Child Support unless I choose otherwise. I told you the last time we spoke via text message don't contact ever again for money. You have his phone turned off/blocked from my calls/texts and you talk about me and my little kids like they're less than human beings and minor inconveniences. The answer is no and please don't respond to this email because I won't bother to read it. The way you have treated me and my family the last ten yrs or so is awful. I don't hate you... I just don't want to be bothered with you because you will never treat me fairly or will you never resent my little ones. You resent them... I will never work with you.

Below are just a few of her responses:
  •  I just feel sorry for Bryce that he has a father like you.  I'm so thankful he has other examples of "A FATHER" to see how things should be done regarding the care of children from divorce.  And I pray to God that he doesn't turn out to be a father like you.  
  • Screw You Shawn Bailey! I resent that you because you are a sorry father and your children will see you for the selfish person that you are.
The only words I regret in my response to Bryce's mother's email is the part where I stated; "I will never work with you." That statement is false. I would work with her if reason and rational (and fairness) was the field we played on. With her it is not. I will never go out of my way to be difficult or unfair, I'm just not concerned with any of her demands, wants or needs for that matter. As long as she chooses to behave like she does I want no contact with her. In the end, when it comes to her Bryce is my only concern... and he's doing just fine.
Anyway, like I said... "real peach".

I debated whether to share those emails. I labored over it for a few different reasons and for more than a few weeks. The first reason is because mybabyroc began with one primary goal; to encourage others. The site wasn't developed to air dirty laundry or to take pot shots at others, nor is its goal to spread hate or gossip. Secondly, the site wasn't born out of a desire to elevate myself or to highlight any noble or good behavior on my part. It began with quit the opposite intention, my goal was to be very honest and transparent about my indiscretions, poor behavior and failings. I think I've lived up to that. Lastly, the site was developed because I was following God's direction and destiny for my life. I'm a writer and I believe its God's will for me to write. 

And write is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life.

In the end, it's important to acknowledge that child support is a very sensitive issue for many. It's not my belief, nor was it my intention, that this piece would cure all that is wrong with child support and the many complicated scenarios that surround it. Also, it's imperative to state that it wasn't my intention to cast every father into a golden ray of sunshine or sideswipe every mother and vote them of the island as an unworthy parent void of any ability to be fair in the area of money and financial support for their children.

This was personal to me.

I have tried to do all I could over the years to meet every financial obligation and responsibility that has been set before me, with the main goal for me to be part of the equation that aids in meeting all my children's "needs". In the end, not one has went without a heated or air conditioned roof over their head, hot meals to eat each day, clothes (nice clothes) to wear or adequate healthcare when in time of physical need.

I will leave it at that.

In the end, I believe there are certain concrete behaviors that can positively change this challenging dynamic. Men paying what they are ordered to pay in a consistent and constant manner would be a great start. Mothers recognizing the good fathers do when they pay child support, realizing that they (the mother or the father for that matter) aren't being paid a fortune, but also recognizing the father's responsible behavior in adhering to the court order decree in the form of support that is owed, and paid. Father's shouldn't be made to feel guilty for not always paying over and above the support order and mother's, and outside forces such as step-parents, shouldn't destructively criticize fathers when they don't give more money.

A sidebar - - I think it would be good for the courts to recognize the future intellectual needs of children on an academic level and withhold 10% of all child support to be designated for college tuition. The money will be deposited in a fund on a monthly basis and would be released for college tuition once the child begins college.

If he or she decides not to attend college the money goes to them.

Finally, I also believe it to be a very good thing for recognition and acknowledgement from all involved that child support is more than just money.

Child support is about many things. Money is extremely important, but it is just part of the equation. Emotional, mental and spiritual support is equally important.

Every responsible parent, and step-parent, knows this.

Or they should.

sbb 6.9.12

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