“The Randolph Hotel is on fire!” As my bus pulled around the corner, everyone turned to look out of the window: a plume of black smoke was spiralling up from the top of the Randolph’s central tower. People were stopping to stare, and as we moved up the road, we met the inevitable volley of sirens.
A small boy, his eyes shining, turned to his Mum and crowed with excitement. “There’ll be fire engines and hosepipes!” Then his eyes grew troubled. “What if there are kids in there? They’ll get burnt, won’t they? They’ll be trapped…” His anxiety was infectious.
“Oh, don’t worry, said his Mum: they’ll get the kids out first.”
Because kids come first don’t they. Always. It’s one of the unwritten principles of life. We prioritise the needs of the children, because they are vulnerable and they cannot look after themselves. We have to meet their needs.
But how easy is it to apply this principle when a marriage breaks down and all you can think about is where you are going to live? Is it possible to put the kids first – to rescue them from the debris of your marriage – so that their needs come first?
At Focus Mediation, we can help you both face the uncomfortable truths involved in separating your lives, and devise a way forward which makes sure the kids don’t get burnt. We give you a safe, neutral space in which to discuss your hopes and fears. And we can talk to the children themselves, if you think that would help. Sometimes, hearing what they think and knowing what they want to save out of the wreck can be very useful.