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May 03

I hope my son is like Peter Parker…

Advanced warning – Spoiler alert.

Last night, my girlfriend and I went and watched The Amazing Spiderman 2 in theatres with a couple of friends.  Honestly, the entire evening was awesome and very much necessary – which is something that I we won’t be able to do for the first few months after our baby is born… but we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there.

The point of this post isn’t about the difficulties of dating in the later stages of pregnancy or potential issues with the same in the early months of the baby’s life.  Those will likely be later posts, I am sure… This is about doing what you think is right and empowering your actions to do so…

There was a point in the movie (and, in all fairness, stop right now if you don’t want the spoiler) when Spiderman takes a “leave of absence” to deal with heavy emotional baggage.  He’s away so long that the news reports state an increase of crime, and then the Rhino shows up rampaging through downtown… The anticipation of his return is delayed just long enough to keep the audience begging to see him come back – but before that happens, a little boy who makes an appearance a couple of times in the movie is seen at the police line behind a picket, wearing a make-shift Spiderman costume… He looks like a miniature version of the classic Peter Parker from the comic books, with his rectangular glasses and cherubim-like cheeks.

Now that the background is set, the little boy is behind the picket line with his mother and a flock of other bystanders watching as the NYPD is trying – ineffectually – to stop the exo-skeletaly enhanced criminal, Rhino (played by the fantastic Paul Giomatti), from continuing his rampage.  The camera work is great, in my opinion, flashing between the Rhino, the police, the crowd, and an overhead shot of the entire scene to raise the suspense.  On one of the shots of the boy, he looks around and, in an impressive display of courage, climbs under the picket and runs in between the Rhino and the police – in spite of his mother’s cries, he evades the picket police holding the line back, while his mother was stopped from getting him back.

This little boy ran out into this dangerous situation at obvious risk to himself because his idol would have done it… and, even though Spiderman comes back to step in (the interchange between him and the boy at this point was awesome, btw…), the little boy did actually cause a cease-fire.

I completely recognize that the reality of this situation is that this was a scene happening in a movie, but I couldn’t help but think to myself (considering my pending status as a father) – “Yes!  That’s how I want my boy to be…”

And before anyone gets all exasperated at the interpretation that I may want my son to think that he has to otherwise martyr himself against impossible odds, I am not saying that.  Remember, this was a movie scene.  What it is, also, is an entertaining application of an ethical and moral story – a modern day campfire tale of the trials of “good” and “evil”, and (another spoiler) the realities of life and death.

Also, I’m not stating that anyone should get in the way of the police, nor am I otherwise trying to say that the police cannot do their job.  Quite the contrary…   although I do advocate the ideal that people should be willing to stand up for what they believe, and should stand up to the level of their capability to help others in need…

That being said, what I saw in the this courage scene was exactly that – and that is what I want my child to be able to do.  I want them to be have the conviction and moral courage enough to act when they feel it is necessary, even in the face of what would appear as overwhelming odds, to help others…
I want to encourage them to grow up with what will likely be a counter-cultural mindset – To not subscribe to the culture of mediocrity that we are presently creating in North America, which, consequently, is also creating a culture of victims…

Without going into a tirade about the varieties of learning styles and capabilities, nor the institutional infrastructures that enable and impede different social strata, what I am going to say is a general comment about the modern educational and social institutions in North America (Canada in particular):  With ideas like ‘everyone passes’ and ‘zero tolerance’, plus an apparent fostering of a sense of entitlement that every child is an “A” student and any failure is solely on the shoulders of teachers – we’re not teaching children to actually succeed in the real world.
And when bullies pressure their victims, punishing both the offender and the assaulted is not the way to deal with the problem!  What message does this send to everyone?

Does anyone remember this?    Student stops knife fight

This is the Culture of Victims.  I really like the line “When seconds count, police are only minutes away.”  But if we are willing to step up and do what’s right, what the reasonable person KNOWS is the right thing to do – regardless of what the regulations say should be done – then the authorities can do what needs to be done when they get there.  Yes, there is a chance that we can get hurt if we step in… There is also the chance that the person being threatened could be too… Which is worse?
There is also a chance that nothing could happen, or that a positive outcome could come from decisive and quick action…  why do we need to always think that something is going to go bad?
How can we expect our successive generations to stand up for what is right if we’re teaching them that they’ll be punished if they do so?  An equivalent situation would be – if someone is injured, should the person who comes on the scene run to get help if they know First Aid?

The real world doesn’t owe anyone anything – and anyone who thinks that society owes them for their participation really needs to give their head a shake…
For those who never learn how to fail or have never experienced how it feels to lose anything, they are going to find out really fast that, in the real world, failure is always an option and you don’t always get to drive the victory lap or make the last second save…

So, I want my son to be the little boy who’ll call someone on their bullying, who’ll step in to stop someone from bullying, who’ll call a spade a spade when a bigoted comment is made, who’ll stand up against all the peer pressure to do something that they all know is wrong, and who’ll run to the aid of someone who needs it… I want my son to be able to stand up against the social equivalents of the exo-skeletally enhanced Rhino rampaging through their lives, and not be dependant on others to try to save them – to be strong enough to help others, but humble enough to know when he needs help, and be willing to accept it.

I want my boy to like Peter Parker – smart, strong, compassionate, and with a very well calibrated moral compass… because, if the next generation doesn’t have that well-calibrated moral compass, I fear that our future will be lost…
 

 

 

 

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