Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Do ever re-watch this you watched when you were younger? As a parent, I've watched old favorites like "Labyrinth", "The Dark Crystal", and many Disney movies. Sometimes, I'm really surprised at this I missed, like overt racism, adult jokes, and  incredible violence. Other times, like right now, I find myself wondering if some of the things I watched and read shaped me more than I realized.

My husband and I have been watching "M*A*S*H*" lately. I find it to be as socially and morally pertinent today as it was when it was created. Yes, it has some misogyny, racism, and really bad behavior. I can appreciate that in ways I didn't before. What I see most is how extreme conditions test or humanity, our morality, our world views, and our self identity. For some, it is in crisis that they find strength. For others, they find that they must adapt, and for the rest, they crumble.  I also see how war is sanitized in recent years because we don't have to be directly confronted with the realities of it. We can simply turn it  off, but for those who live in war torn areas, they get no choice, the same as soldiers who are drafted to fight.  I watch with an eye towards who will protest against the next war or wars?  Who will pay the price for political decisions made by old men?  The answer, in every war is young men and their families, the land itself, and every person who has their autonomy revoked through war and its destructive nature.

Even as we are watching M*A*S*H*, my oldest son is reading "A Wrinkle in Time" at school. It's been my favorite book since I was in third grade and a librarian read it to my class.  I have re-read it so many times that my copy is fragile and worn. I had to order a new copy for Gavin to use. He and I have been discussing our views on the book, why it matters to me, and what he thinks he's getting out of it.  It puts us on even footing, something that seems strange for a parent-child relationship. He's also enjoying hearing about what I learned from the book that I carry around all the time: Charles Wallace Murray made me more open to how unique my kids are; Meg and I were very much the same when I was Gavin's age; Calvin O'Keefe is a great deal like the man I married;  Parents aren't perfect, and the Universe if filled with possibilities both good and bad.  He has been invited, through this book, into a part of myself that I couldn't adequately explain without it, and that has been a fascinating thing. I wonder what he will take away from this experience, and if he'll share those thoughts with me. I'm certain his views won't match mine completely, but he often surprises me with how much he is like me.

I've found myself wondering how much of who I am came from books, movies, and stories, how much I created myself, and what percentage is simple inheritance or reaction to my environment. Even as I ponder, I am thrilled that I can share experiences like books and movies with the people around me, especially my children.  Common ground is a great place to build from in any relationship, and the stories we tell, listen to, and keep close to our hearts, allow us to make new connections, build dialogues, and even shape ourselves.

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