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Lessons from Vacation - Unusual Friends

Recently, I have been writing articles inspired by the vacation my wife and I took this summer. We went to Colorado. While there, I thought about how much I wished that I could be joined by my dad and my stepfather.

When I was about 10 years old, my folks divorced. Later, my mom married Andy, my stepfather. My dad also remarried.

My mom and my stepfather moved several times, eventually moving to Kansas from Texas. My dad’s home in Texas was almost 900 miles away.

So, you can imagine arranging visitations was tricky, if not difficult. It is not unusual for divorced parents to battle over such issues as visitation, child support, and the like, but not Andy and Dad.

In fact, they became friends. When visitation exchanges occurred, they would visit warmly. They would talk about my sister and me, but also about how their businesses were going, their health, and other such matters. They truly knew each other. On occasion they would even exchange phone calls through the years.

I am sure there were differences between dad and my stepfather related to the divorce, including custody, visitation, and child support, but I was never aware of them. Somehow, my dad and my stepfather found things they could agree on; things they had in common, versus things on which they disagreed.

Both my dad and my stepfather loved Colorado, and in their own special way. My dad loved 4-wheeling and hunting in the mountains; Andy enjoyed driving the majestic roadways, the cool relief that Colorado offers in the summer, and the crisp fresh air.

So, as I sat on the deck in Colorado, I thought of them both. I am sure if they were there with me they would be talking each other’s legs off, but still amazed at the beauty of the mountains, after all of these years of going there.

There is an important lesson here. Though I am sure there were some differences, Andy and my dad chose to have a lifelong relationship because of my sister and I; they chose to find common ground, and to build on that common ground rather than have a destructive relationship. I thought about that, that morning in Colorado with my cup of coffee.

My dad and Andy were the most important men in my life. They both died a couple years ago, about two months apart. But the lessons I learned from them are still part of me; I just need to remember to put them to practice.

Find common ground to maintain your relationships. Do not let differences destroy your relationships with your friends, acquaintances, and family.

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