The 1989 film Parenthood has inspired a TV show of the same name. I haven’t seen the show yet, but I have noticed some snappy ads on the streets. One sidewalk ad features the line, “Realizing you’ve become your father”—funny and true.
I read some online reviews of the show and one person commented that it was both funny and heart-wrenching. As the father of two boys, ages 9 and 6, that makes sense to me. When you become a parent you often get together with other parents to commiserate as you face different issues concerning your kids. It is always interesting when I meet parents who have kids who are older than mine, because I am curious as to what developmental issues lurk just around the corner.
Daily decision-making is often concocted on the fly, but if the answer is not readily available, a parental huddle might be necessary before delivering a verdict to the kids, which usually starts with, ”Your mother and I have decided….” Whenever I say this, I laugh to myself because in the back of my mind I am hearing a line from The Incredibles where Mr. Incredible is lecturing his kids, saying, “…because the important thing is that your mother and I are a team” (and then he loses his train of thought) “…united against the forces of evil.”
Even though our “united front” plan has worked so far, I have heard from friends and neighbors that there are rough seas ahead in the pre-teen and teenage years. Teens are reported to hate their parents, turn everything into an argument, and act moody and self-centered. My personal memories of middle school and high school tend to confirm most of these observations, but I am not totally convinced that teenagers’ annoying behavior is completely their fault so much as it is a necessary stage in growing up.
What has also made me feel empathy for teen angst is the last ten books I have read since our recent acquisition of Tu Books. I’ve been reading YA science fiction and fantasy in an effort to become more familiar with these genres. Many of the books I have read have been exciting and action-packed, but have also left an impression of the tough emotional and physical roller coaster these years represent. Essentially, teens are struggling to successfully straddle a hypocritical world that still treats them like kids but also expects them to assume more of the responsibilities of the adult world.
Getting back to Parenthood, I remember loving the film when I originally saw it in the theater back in the day. It is definitely on my list of movies to re-watch, and I suspect I will be able to relate to it on an entirely different level now. So don’t be surprised if in a future post I end up commenting that the film was “both funny and heart-wrenching.”