Quote from High Fidelity by Nick Hornby:
“People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands – literally thousands – of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss”
The same holds true for romantic movies. I usually avoid all tear-jerker movies – I do not have the patience for sob stuff anymore – usually it’s so over-the-top that you just want to throw up. I and my husband quote Joe Queenan whenever we end up watching such a scene in an otherwise entertaining movie/TV-series -”die witch, die”. This is what Queenan was thinking when the girl in ‘A Walk to Remember’ was still talking when she was supposed to just die. I haven’t seen the movie but Joe McQueen’s review was enough to convey the message. (‘Notebook’ is my dirty secret because it has got Ryan Gosling in it but otherwise I hate Nicholas Sparks books and movies based on them.)
Coming back to the quote in High Fidelity, just imagine your impressionable teenagers growing up with movies where people get married to their ‘eternal love’ because it has been destined so, imagine the pain and heart-break when they find out that there is no ready-made Mr. or Ms. Right? All these movies that portray such love should be rated 21-and-above because any younger, you are not ready to understand the difference between real-life and the edited version of reel-life.
I had my heart-broken once, though looking back now, I know I broke it myself. The other party was blameless. I ended up reading Herman Hesse’s ‘Steppenwolf’. Not a good book to read when you are sad. But somehow, being the eternal optimist I am, I did not go down in despair. But I do worry for my children.
How are our children going to learn that compromises and respect is what keeps people together? What if, they never feel content with what they have in hand? What if, they wait forever because they think there is someone out there who is a better fit? Or what if, they never take a chance because of all the pain it might cause? What if, they think they should choose the first person that gives them a love-note because that is how it is to be and in case that does not work out, grow despondent?
That is scary!
I hope my children realize that a relationship is lots of hard work which starts right after the ‘They lived happily ever-after’. I hope they realize that whomever you choose, there is no 100% guarantee that your relationship will remain the same – time and daily-life can be cruel masters. If you both work on it, you can both grow to be an even better-fit but if you stop communicating, your relationship can fall apart (queue in the movie ‘Blue Valentine’).
I try not to cocoon my children from all the differences me and my husband have just like I do not hide my love for their father. And I am still learning from my in-laws how illness and hardship does not mean end of a happy relationship.
Without hope we are lost but to expect easy fairy-tale endings would be foolhardy. I am going to go bake a cake with my children and tell them ‘How I met their father’.