What is it about the father/son relationship that features in most movies and is the relationship that moulds us more than any other? From Chicken Little, through Madagascar to Star Wars, father/son relationships are the key issue and plot line.
Is Darth Vader a baddie because he only had a mother and no father? Luke has Obi Wan Kenobi to jab lightsabres with, hence why he’s a good kid with a cool car.
In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the crazy scientist kid disappoints his dad as he grows up, only to finally win back his approval by proving himself with his weather food machine. Or in Chicken Little’s case, by proving he wasn’t lying about the sky falling down.
These movies aimed at our kids are teaching them to seek approval, prove yourself and become what your father wants you to be. In all of these flicks, there is no mother or mother figure.
In The Sound of Music, the cute blond eldest son of the Captain is tormented under his father’s glare, when all he wants to do is sing, dance and make tea cakes with his sisters … or perhaps that’s me?
My father and I bonded once. It was over a project to put a new clutch plate into my car when I was 17. I daydreamed as I stood in a neon multi-coloured T-shirt, helping my dad. He was working harder on me to get me to make my hands dirty than he was working on the car itself. It was no use, he didn’t make it relevant for me.
I couldn’t relate to his interests, nor he to mine.
I did the same thing as Luke when I told my dad. I lifted the helmet off his head even though he said he’d die without it. When I lifted the shades, I set him free from holding in what he had always known. He became a new, improved dad — not asking me to seek his approval any longer, but to bring up his grandsons like he had not done with his son.
Beau and Chick are growing up in an era of fathers, straight and gay, who hopefully have the emotional intelligence to make their lives relevant, hold interest in whatever it is they are into and not ask them to seek approval, but just be loved.
I should be concerned that Chick loves slaying me with the lightsabre. I don’t want life to imitate art in this instance.