Jan 312008

“What if everybody in the world was exactly like you?” is a question I’ve heard asked in relation to your character. It usually means, what if everybody had the same ethics as you, or whatever everybody was just as hard working as you.  I’ve often dismissed this as a theoretical sort of question. An interesting excersize and nothing more.

However, recently I’ve started to think about how similar children are to parents. Its almost a cliche at this point out the stubbornness of both parent and child. For example, I’ve discovered that a number of my cute neuroses come from my mother. I wash my hands a number of times, for example, and my mother is likewise a germaphone. I used to have problems with procrastination–I always wanted to wait until I had a really good idea and was in a really good mood to write something before I wrote it, and my mother did that, too. She is also a very nice and ethical person and that’s something important that we’ve inherited, too.

We project our feelings and expectations on other people, and a lot of times those expectations come from other people, as well, and usually our families. Which is important, considering how important a role families have in shaping our personalities. That means that your communication style is probably very familiar to your family’s. As an example, say your family did not talk about feelings. Odds are you don’t talk about your feelings much either. Think about things that your family does, particularly people who do specific things that you dislike. You just might do those things, too.

But think about this for a moment: You’re probably going to someday have, or already have, kids. Who you are is what kids learn. They do as you do, not what you say. The only way to teach kids is to be that way. If your kids are going to be very similar to you, would you be proud of them? Is who you are right now something you’d like to pass onto another person? If not, then what would you like to change? What are you doing well that you’d be proud of to see in your child?

Jan 302008

Note: This review contains spoilers. Please don’t read if you are sensitive to that sort of thing. 

I recently watched the Western, 3:10 to Yuma with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, and they both play their parts brilliantly. The plot is essentially that Dan Evans (Bale), a crippled civil war vet,  is trying to live off a dead ranch in a drought. One day, he and his two sons witness a stagecoach hijacking by none other than Ben Wade (Crowe). Wade heads into town, and Evans follows. Soon, Wade is captured and Evans agrees to help escort him to the 3:10 train to Yuma prison for two hundred dollars. A mighty battle of wills ensues, as the suave and sweet talking killer, Wade, proceeds to kill many of the party accompanying him. Not only that, his gang is searching for them and will surely kill them all when found.

There is certainly a theme of faith and having faith in something in this movie. Bale’s character is constantly asking his wife to believe in him, his teenage son, William, doesn’t believe in him. Wade quotes the Bible every once in a while. As I wrote earlier, in McCabe&Mrs. Miller, the personal mythology of the cowboy hero as a tough defender is shattered when McCabe is revealed to be a coward. In a similar, Evans is revealed to have only faced one battle, and in it, one of his own men shot off his leg. No wonder he has trouble getting his son to believe in him. But, it seems that the man who has nothing to believe in (and thus simply lives by his own whims), Wade, wants to believe in Evans and help him to bring himself to justice (even though he himself has escaped from Yuma twice). Near the end, when everyone else has surrendered to Wade’s posse, Evans tells his son that he was the only one who was man enough to escort Wade to the station, and it seems that Wade wants to see this played out, and helps Evans along.

Ah well.