Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cinema as Life...

I embarass and annoy my children.  Every day if I can manage it.  I look at it as my right and my responsibility. I figure as long as they spend less on therapy by the age of 40 than I did, we're golden.  Consider it character building, a 'gift from Mommy,' if you will.

One of the things we enjoy doing together is watching movies.  We love to settle in on the couch, hunker down, and watch a good story unfold. The wonderful thing about having fairly young kids is that their father and I still get to help orchestrate their viewing choices.  I, for one, find movies to be excellent teaching opportunities as well as entertainment, and try to suggest what we watch  accordingly.

For example, we recently viewed Rudy, the story of a pint sized blue collar boy who dreamed of playing football at Notre Dame, despite his lack of size and academic eligibility.  Noah was highly annoyed by Rudy's over the top enthusiasm; Sophie completely responded to it.  My take on it?  The dude had a dream, he worked his butt off, and he made that dream happen.  What more could you want?  This movie doesn't tug, it full on yanks on the hearstrings.  I basically sob from scene one until the end. Highly annoying to the kids, but again, odds are they'll get over it.

Then theres's Secretariat.  We saw it for the first time in the theatre.  We all loved it, even the husband, who is NOT a horse fan.  The other day I bought the DVD and the kids and I snuzzled up for a family viewing session.  What are the teaching points from Secretariat?  I'd say that similar to Rudy, the most important point is the power of dreams and fighting for what you believe in.  Most importantly to my way of thinking, the movie shows how powerful a woman can be. 

My kids were present when I graduated my EMBA program.  They watched me study, write papers, travel to China, and finally, walk up on stage in the IZOD Center to recieve my diploma.  I can still remember seeing them, high up in the nosebleed seats, my son in his father's tie, my daughter in her best party dress, clapping for me.

My kids know that my horse is the culmination of a life long dream.  They know that I am working my butt off every day to pay for this dream.  When we watch Secretariat, I point out to them the faith of the woman who had a dream, the strength of the people who helped her realize it, and the spirit of the magnificent animal at the center of all their dreams.  I want them to see the love of a woman for her children, and the fact that the best way she knew to show them her love was to follow her dreams and to teach them to follow theirs. 

Hopefully some of this will make sense to them somewhere down the road.  If not, at the very least we've seen some darn good movies.

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