Saturday, October 19, 2013

just hold your head high and keep those fists down

As with lots of kids, Becky and Ro do enjoy their share of goggle-box entertainment, but I've taken care to always limit the amount of time they spend on it, and to monitor what they actually do watch as well. While I do allow the occasional inane programme -- ok, I have to admit Phineas and Ferb is funny -- I generally try to ensure the shows have at least some educational and moral value.

Every so often, I'll recall a show or movie I enjoyed as a child, and I'll ask my husband to see if he can find the DVD of it. The kids will sometimes moan and groan when they hear that tonight we won't be watching Barbie (get the 12 Dancing Princesses though -- it really is good), but invariably they get into -- and really enjoy -- the shows I pick.

Well, last night the hubs put on To Kill A Mockingbird, which I'd asked him to get. There was much doubtful hemming and hawing about how the kids were probably too young for it, how black-and-white movies would bore them, how racism is too deep an issue for them to grasp, etc etc. I simply said that I'd enjoyed it very much when I was their age, and that was enough.

Long story short, the kids got totally engrossed in it, Becky especially (she's eight); she even cried when Tom Robinson gave his testimony, and was later shot dead trying to escape. Without doubt the film and book bring up many deep issues to ponder -- racism, rape, the courage to stand up for one's principles, and the loss of innocence, to name a few -- and I was glad to answer Becky's questions and discuss them with her in greater detail. She asked, for instance, what "nigger" meant; when I'd explained, she likened it to the protagonist Jesminder being called "paki" in the movie Bend It Like Beckham. I was glad that she was upset by such offensive, disparaging bigotry, and the fact that it continues till this very day.

I did To Kill A Mockingbird in school when I was about 13, but it was the image of those carved figures left by Arthur Radley in the knot of the tree that has never left me since I saw the film when I was seven. Gregory Peck, still unbelievably handsome at 46, was phenomenal as Atticus Finch; the author Harper Lee -- whose own father was an attorney who had defended two black men accused of murder -- even gave him her father's watch and chain because he reminded her so much of him. And the music, written by the amazing Elmer Bernstein, is as haunting now as it was some 50 years ago.

Seeing the kids' rapt attention reminded me that some works are classic and ageless for a reason, and one should never underestimate a child's profundity. Equally, the degree to which they absorb the things they see and hear should make one very, very circumspect about their TV, and even internet and cellphone, activity. Violence, suggestive themes, lax morals and bad language are all too easily accessible in today's shows and video games, and they all have far-reaching social and behavioural implications. I think parents have a definite responsibility in this regard -- simply leaving Junior with the TV or Xbox as a babysitter is not the answer to realising his full potential or creating a better world for future generations. There are lots of helpful resources on this available, including this and this.

Have a lovely, tranquil weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

be yourself; everyone else is already taken

Hi everyone, how have you been? I trust you're all doing well, in body and spirit. Please excuse my irregular blog visits for the present; I've been going through a bit of a challenging time these past days. Never fear, though -- the key thing is that I'm going through, and coming out victorious on the other side. I've been trusting God's perfect timing and I know I'm safe in His keeping.

Well, I've been wanting to write about something that's been on my mind a lot lately, but I know it's not something I can just churn out off the top of my head. Being largely housebound with an infant gives one lots of time for thought, and if there's one thing that's become very clear, it's that I'm one of those home-y people who really don't mind not going out at all. As I think I've mentioned before, going to the supermarket once a week is quite a sufficient high for me (and Book Depository is an added treat haha); but I'm not much into shopping, or partying -- being one of the "beautiful people" -- which, in my part of the world at least, seems to be the primary preoccupation of many.

I was thinking it's largely because of the nature of a modern city, and so wanted to write in greater detail about it. However, as I simply don't have the time to just yet -- I am in fact madly typing this while Becky's having her turn in the shower -- I will let it stew in my head for now. This evening though, I watched this wonderful episode of The Twilight Zone from 1964, which reminded me of it, and I just had to share. It's only about half an hour, so you could easily watch it over dessert or something. Overlook -- or snigger at -- the space age costumes and "modern" machines, and perhaps, like me, you'll be struck by how brilliant and prescient it is.

P.S. That quote in my title is by the much esteemed Oscar Wilde, who also said, "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation". You are absolutely beautiful just as you are -- have an inspired, blessed rest of the week; I'll see you soon!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


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