What Makes a Man.

5 Apr

I am obsessed with my netflix instant play to an unhealthy exent… But I came across this movie that gave me a life “aha” moment (in the words of Oprah).

It was called “Sixty Six” and starred Helena Bonham Carter… who is totally underrated as an actress and totally over focused on being a horrible dresser (If you haven’t seen The King’s Speech You NEED to!)

“Sixty Six” is a true story about a young boy named Bernie from England. Bernie is a social disaster and constantly overshadowed by his older brother. Leading up to his Bat Mitzvah, Bernie is ecstatic about officially breaking out of his painful, adolescent shell and becoming a man… as soon as he throws the most amazing dream Bat Mitzvah party of all time. Except there is one speed-bump. The 1966 World Cup Final is on the same day as his party and the possibility of England qualifying is threatening the success of Bernie’s celebration.

Not only is this film adorable, I learned one of life’s most important lessons that I wish could have sunk in at birth.

Bernie’s father is unfortunately a little bit unhinged, if you know what I mean, embarrassing to the family, and adds salt to Bernie’s wounds regarding his party. But in the end the father and son share a special moment at the World Cup, leading to one of the most profound memories of the two together. Bernie discovers in the end that a Bat Mitzvah doesn’t make the man. Bernie realizes that you must accept your father’s imperfections and love him for who he is. Only then can someone be a man.

Duh, right? But I know I spent the better part of my life being embarrassed and worried about what others thought and wanting my parents to be perfect.  Bernie understood this lesson at 13… so at 25 I’m either really slow on the uptake or not alone. I think we get into the habit of seeing our parents as workhorses and a source of life, knowledge, perfection etc., not really as people. But they are people. And they are most likely the only people that will love you no matter how big your party is or how much of a social failure you are. And I am happy they aren’t perfect (makes it easier for me not to be right?) 😉

In junior high (part of the worst years of my life) my dad had a blue (so better to see him coming), diesel (so better to hear him coming) beat-up van that horrified me and he knew it, and he kept it around long after it’s expiration date, probably just to see my anxiety at the possibility of the damn thing miraculously firing back up and able to make yet another trip to school… But today what I wouldn’t give for one more ride in that van because it’s not about the van or what people thought of it, it’s about the fact that he took me school instead of making me ride the bus (…or walking 10 miles. ha!).

Perhaps what we think our parents are supposed to be (and never will be), is what is keeping us from creating real relationships and cultivating them in a harmless way. Or possibly even destroying those relationships with too high of expectations. We need to stop fighting the imperfection, but instead accept it and enjoy it. We are all human and make mistakes with one another, but the roles we play in important interactions should be more closely examined and thought out.

We should NEVER take for granted those memorable moments (or any moment for that matter… if you had asked me when I was 13 if that van would be memorable, I would have laughed hysterically with a scorn on my face). One day those people won’t be there, leaving behind only memories and the wish that we had done things differently…had our own blue van to take our kids to school in… or had a World Cup Championship to go to on our Bat Mitzvah.

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One Response to “What Makes a Man.”

  1. mom April 6, 2011 at 1:24 PM #

    I can’t believe you noticed we have warts… and have decided to love us anyway….that’s REAL love. (I’m just assuming I get to be loved since I’m a parent..not the blue van parent but a parent)

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