a little east of reality

Sunday, April 10, 2005

happy families

Tonight was another night for seeing how time had flown. I haven't seen the Neills for 8 years, but the things I remembered best about them are the things that make them unusual as a family. One is that their entertainment is rated PG. I don't mean simply that their kids are not allowed to watch ratings not suitable for their age. I mean that they as a family, including the parents, do not watch movies or tv shows with ratings above PG. I would find this difficult. I'm not even sure it's what I would choose, even if I was strong-willed enough to live by it. But I do admire the fact that they don't expect the kids to live this standard just because they are kids. In this challenging area, they live by the same rules.

The second thing I remembered is how much D loves spending time with her kids. She enjoys the school holidays. When all the other parents are sighing with relief that the kids are finally back at school, she is wishing there had been a little more time. In fact, in spite of the normal sibling rivalry, this applies to the whole family. They love their family, and they love being a part of their family.

The third thing is how non-Stepford they are. In spite of being goody-two-shoes enough to make the Brady Bunch roll their eyes, this family can't be defined by some sort of pre-determined 'Christian family' template. They are very individual in their lives and interests, and have a lot of fun. They don't feel the need to be always pushing against their limits because the point of those limits is not to hold them back, but to help them seek out what's great in life and remember that no matter what might be considered 'normal' on TV, people don't have to be materialistic or violent, relationships dysfunctional, sex cheap or corruption inevitable.

I know people who would think the Neills are lame and blinkered, wrapping their kids and themselves in cotton wool and missing out on all kinds of gritty experiences in life. Some people think that you block out the real world that way. But the world is what we have made it. They're aware of the 'real world' - they just don't wallow in it and then wonder why life seems so murky. They live a very real life and they make their world a happy place. I saw it again today and was gladdened by it. They live life on their own terms and continue to thrive that way. Dinner at their house was as corny as an after-school special, but it was terribly heartwarming and I loved being with them.


My life is rated R.
What is your life rated?