Thursday, April 1, 2010

Like Stars On Earth : Movie Review

Utah Dad and I enjoy watching foreign films. For awhile we watched so many that we got used to having subtitles on during a movie that we now turn the subtitles on for all movies (this might also be a sign that we are getting old and our hearing is going). Hindi/Bollywood films are among my favorite foreign films. They're colorful, clean and fun. My favorite thing about Hindi films is that just like in nursery you can break into song whenever you feel like it.

Earlier this week, Utah Dad and I got the movie Like Stars on Earth from Netflix. We were moved by the sweet portrayal of an eight year old artistically gifted boy, Ishaan, who also suffers from learning disabilities. His parents and teachers are fed up with his antics and his apparent laziness and decide to ship him off to a boarding school which they hope will "break his will". The extreme discipline at the boarding school and the feelings of abandonment by his family do just that. By the time the new art teacher arrives at the school, Ishaan lives his life in a trance--he no longer cares. He no longer paints. The art teacher resolves to save this student and finds the key to helping Ishaan succeed. (The movie is distributed through Disney and you can watch trailers *here*.) Like Stars on Earth is both heartbreaking and heart warming.

We have been trying to understand our own children better lately. Neal and Amberly have been going through rough times. Our relationships have been strained as they try to exert their own independence and we try to hang on to parental control. We've been rethinking our methods of parenting and education. We've been trying to step back and see the bigger picture. 

A week ago, Amberly started dragging her feet to get out the door for school. In the seconds before she must go out the door to get to school on time, she picks a fight about something--one day it was about her shoes, another day it was about packing a lunch for school and yet another day it was about her hair. I've been trying to anticipate the problems by having her pick out her outfits the night before and loosening my control. So what if she insists on wearing her yellow soccer shirt with green and pink camo pants, right? It's not worth the battle. Today she is wearing a magenta hoodie-dress over light blue leggings and lime green socks. Ugh. I suppose I should rejoice that she is still young enough not to care and that she is having fun experimenting with her style. But as I step back and see all her recent actions as a whole, I'm still not sure that the real issue is her clothing choices. What is the bigger issue? Utah Dad and I are hoping that if we remain calmer during the battles, that eventually she will feel like talking to us about what is really bothering her. In the mean time, we will try to see the bigger picture. 

I caught myself squirming a little as we watched the movie the other night. I saw myself reflected in a few of the things the parents say to their child. By the time the movie ended, Utah Dad and I had resolved anew to be better parents. The movie reminded us of what we already knew but as harried parents occasionally forget--each child is a star. Each child has gifts to share. Each child deserves to be valued. Each child deserves to have the right to the specific education he needs to excel. Each child deserves to feel safe in her home. Each child deserves to have parents that love him unconditionally.

It is my responsibility to make sure each of my children feels loved and valued. Even if I'm exhausted and I have piles of laundry to fold and dishes to wash.