As a mother, I have been a major companion for my son since my husband is always not around. One of the ways I have accompanied him along his way is that I am the one who watches lots of movies with him.
The different types of movies also show his growth journey in various stages. I feel I am lucky to be the one who can sit beside him and share his films.
When he was a toddler, I watched the Teletubbies. The four cute Teletubbies are good friends. They live in a pure, uncomplicated world. In that world, the Teletubbies share their favorite food, ride their bikes, play together, and meet with each other every day. Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa Laa, and Po frolic and play in the idyllic Teletubbyland. It was pretty good for young kids who were learning to speak as the four friends constantly repeated their language, such as “Baby’s milkshake, baby’s milkshake… baby’s toast, baby’s toast.” What a lovely wonderland and their language was great for John to learn to speak.
Then John started to watch the Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, a popular cartoon in China for kids. The red wolf and the grey wolf are a couple, but the grey wolf always makes stupid mistakes.
After John came to Vancouver, he watched Pixar and Disney movies, such as Toy Stories, Frozen, Incredible, Cars, and Finding Dory.
Very soon, John started to love the Harry Potter series. I was amazed that he could remember lots of the magic spells that the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry taught. Those spells were a challenge for me as I remember things by logic, and there’s no logic for those spells in my mind. I even find it difficult to understand some of the language. John had to explain a bit to me. However, Harry Potter was an important milestone for John as he read all the books and watched the movies at least twice. Of course, I was invited to watch them with him. We even went to the Harry Potter Castle and took the Hogwarts Express train in Universal Orlando Resort. John wore Harry Potter’s gown and had his wand in hand. He looked a bit like Harry as he also wore similar glasses with a round black frame.
Starting from Harry Potter, we began to have movie nights as a tradition. Before the weekend evening, I would usually prepare some healthy snacks and bake some cookies, or cake, or small donut bread with sausage, so John could eat them when watching. Then, we sat together, logged into Netflix, and started our Harry Potter nights. John usually sat close to me as sometimes he was afraid of Voldemort and the dark evil world.
As a term of exchange, I sometimes ask him to watch some of the movies I like to watch. I usually choose some movies on purpose as I would like to select some classic movies for him to watch, which I think will positively impact his life. So I chose movies like “The pursuit of happiness; the homeless to Harvard; The network, etc.
John even quoted the film “The pursuit of happiness” one day. “
Chris Gardner: You got a dream. You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, and they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it.”
Time goes by fast. After going through the Harry Potter movies twice, John started to like the Heros from the Marvel movies. I know lots of young boys want to be heros and have superpowers.
Along with John, I knew lots of heroes, the smart and witty Iron Man, the big bulk Thor, the giant, and muscular Hulk, the black panther- a member of the royal family of the fictional African country of Wakanda, Vision who has a special stone on his head. John told me his favorite character is Vision, as he has super-powerful power having that stone, but he is also quite humble. I liked the black widow, of course, she is a brave and beautiful woman. By watching the same movie, it’s easier to build conversations with my son.
The movie-accompanying journey is still ongoing. And there are always some new types of movies John will introduce to me.
Starting last summer, John liked Naruto, the Japanese cartoon movie. So we watch Naruto on weekends, he likes Kakashi -the teacher of team 7 (the team Naruto was part of), and I like Naruto – a boy who has a big dream but is always laughed at by others. Naruto is a young ninja who seeks recognition from his peers and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village. We both agree that Naruto is so resilient no matter how many times he gets laughed at and how many times he fails.
Most recently, John likes “Prison break,” and of course, I got invited to watch it with him again. This is the series we are watching now on weekends in 2022. I like Michael, of course. He is handsome, intelligent, and well educated, and he is a leader. He had a good life and career, but he intended to rob the bank to get arrested and locked up in the same prison as his brother Lincoln as he wanted to break the jail for his innocent brother, Lincoln. To my surprise, John likes John Abruzzi , who was the Don of the Abruzzi Family of the Chicago Mafia. John Abruzzi killed lots of people before getting arrested. I asked John why he likes that John Abruzzi, John said: because he turned out to be a good person.
That’s true, John Abruzzi became a good person after being called by God. God will forgive anyone who turns to him. God is a forgiving God.
That’s a snapshot of the movie-watching journey between my son and me for now. What I have found is that, not only can we have lots of conversions after watching the movies, but the accompanying journey is also quite sweet. Who knows, maybe this accompanying movie scene will become one of the pictures John will remember after he grows up and becomes independent one day. Until then, I enjoy accompanying John in many ways, including the movie-watching. I have found I can have lots of meaningful and important conversations with John because of this shared experience of movie-time. Isn’t that sweet?