September 2009

I Don’t Know How to Start

A lifetime of learned behaviors. Life is hard. And mostly difficult. And busy. And distracting.

Some days, maybe while watching a movie or TV show, we see a Family that seems to have it all together and wonder why we can’t live like that.

It’s a movie, okay? It’s not real. Yet perhaps there’s some compromise between what’s portrayed in books and movies, and what is our current reality.

Maybe. maybe not.

I’d like to find out.

Carpe diem, jeff 🙂

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.

2 replies on “I Don’t Know How to Start”

Dear Jeff,

My wife and I had a discussion about this before, years ago when we first got married. It was after watching a movie where the “ideal” wasn’t portrayed. Instead, the comment that came out of my mouth was this: that was too real. And to be honest with myself, I didn’t come to the movie to face more reality. I can turn on the news and get a dose of reality. So the answer we came up with about it was that most movies are designed to help you escape from reality. TV shows are that way too. How many people in the 1980s wanted to have an idealistic marriage and family like the Huxtables? Bill Cosby was named the “best husband and dad” during that time period – all because of his character on TV.

But with that being said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with learning from those “ideal” situations portrayed in movies or TV.

The lesson I learned, though, in my marriage isn’t what was taught in the movies or on TV…but by watching an elderly couple I knew growing up. In their aged state, they still took care of each other. They operated as a unit…a team…partners in love. It wasn’t about compromise, but about collaboration. Did they have disagreements? Sure. But in the end, they still called each other by the “pet” names they had come to use from 60 years earlier when they had their children – “Mommy” and “Daddy.” Occasionally, reality does come pretty close to ideal. But what hadn’t I seen? I wasn’t privy to their marriage 60 years earlier. They started out on the road just like we all did. They didn’t reach that state with “I do.” They had to learn, too.

My wife and I still take parenting classes and marriage classes at church when they come around. Why? Because we know we could do better. We haven’t “arrived,” nor could we be the authors of “the ideal way.” We make mistakes. But we try to always be open to learning more to try to make it better.


Bob, thank you for your amazingly generous and insightful comments. My challenge is related to “blood relatives”, as described in yesterday’s post.

We could actually better off than I might be portraying. And the simple fact that I’m writing about it makes me feel better. And provides a foundation for the future.

Your cyber-fellowship is greatly appreciated. Like a gift from God. Thank you.

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