When is the last time you watched The Breakfast Club? I watched it last night for the first time in probably 20 years, and yes, I can still quote the dialogue right along with the characters. As a teen I loved that movie, and I always hoped I was more like the well-dressed, popular Claire rather than the strange and misunderstood Allison. Truth is I was probably a mix of all of the characters (well, maybe not so much the athlete). That’s really the point the movie after all. Kids can’t be labelled as a specific type, nor can they be expected to fit the mold of a parent’s expectations.
Watching the movie as a parent was really eye opening. None of the characters feel like they have a close relationship with their parents. One of them is abused, one says her parents use her as a way to get back at each other, one is completely ignored, and two of them are pressured for perfection. Despite their appearances, their financial comfort level, their giftings, each one is frustrated and resentful.
Perfectionism seems more like a desirable trait than a flaw. People rarely see it as the poison it is until someone burns out or has a break down.
So I have to ask, do any of our kids feel that way? Have we pressured our basketball player to feel like his sport is all that matters? Do any of our children think we use them as pawns against each other, or against our exes? Do all five of our kids know that they can talk to us about anything in their lives? Do they know that we love them whether or not they make A’s, whether or not they get a scholarship, whether or not they are considered popular? All these questions swirled in my brain as I tried to sleep. I hope our kids would easily know the answers to all of these, but since 3 of them are teenagers and I have not yet learned how to read their minds, I’m going to have to ask!
Now you may want to consider whether you want your kids to watch the movie yet. It does have a considerable amount of foul language, discussions of sexuality, and some pot smoking. Personally, I think the value of the discussion our family will have outweighs the negative aspects of the R rating. I love movies, and I especially love them when they make us think and make us talk. If you have a movie that sparks good conversation in your family let me know. Leave a comment or email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Hey, I’ll take any excuse to make popcorn and cozy up for a good show.
(post archived from Mar. 18 2013)