A few years ago, a plan for the Avengers movie was put together. Comic book fans throughout the world were ecstatic, and I was one of them. (Growing up, I loved reading comic books and one of my favorite things as an adult is to watch my son read his own comic books.) Anyway, for those that don’t know, the Avengers are a group of superheroes that usually work alone. On occasion, though, they come together to battle a stronger power.
This past weekend, I finally got my wish to see the movie. It burned me up that I had to wait as long as I did, but babysitters had to be arranged, after all. Some of the reviews online suggested that the movie was okay for children – they compared it to comic book violence. Now, my almost 8 year old son watches the cartoons and has seen Star Wars and the Christopher Reeve Super Man films more times than we can count. So we thought he would be up for the movie and invited him along.
We were relieved to see that there were lots of children in the audience, many of them even younger than my son. Once the movie started, though, it was obvious that the movie’s violence level was too much for my son to handle. He covered his ears with his hands and occasionally looked down. Within 10 minutes (about the length of the opening sequence), he looked up at my wife and said, “I want to go home.” The movie was too intense and scary for him.
I did my best to try and persuade him to stay. Inside I was screaming, “Come on son, tough it out!” On the outside, I was asking calmly, “are you sure you want to miss this?” My wife looked at me and suggested that we leave, and I knew she was right. We stood up and hand in hand walked out of the movie that I had waited so long to see. My wife and I talked it over later and we knew we had made the right choice. We didn’t want our son forcing himself to do something that he felt was wrong for him. The ability to walk out or walk away, even when all eyes are on you and pressure is strong, is a skill that we want him to hold on to throughout his life.
Later that night, my wife and I went back out and watched the late showing of the Avengers. The movie was way above my son’s usual cartoon violence and it was a good move to have taken him out. As I watched the movie, I reflected on our earlier failed attempt and realized that my wife and I are a little bit like the Avengers. When the Avengers selfishly work alone, they can’t get the job done. Once they start working as a team, they can’t be beat. Just like the Avengers, our parenting team has special skills that alone are good, but together are great. There’s a bit of Tony Stark (Iron Man) in me, while my wife resembles Steve Rogers (Captain America.) You didn’t think I would say Black Widow did you?
Co-parenting means recognizing that sometimes the other parent knows better than you. You’ve chosen to partner with the other parent, so you must rely on the special skills they bring to the table. If you are in a co-parenting relationship, but choose to raise the children believing that your way is the only right way, then you’ll probably fail. Sometimes, the other parent has the better answer or reaction. Luckily, my kids have a set of parents that work together to overcome the obstacles of life, whether small (watching a movie) or big (health concerns).
Single parents, I can’t leave you out. Honestly, I don’t know how you can do it all and my hat is off to you. I know how hard it is to raise kids with two parents; I can’t imagine how hard it is for you to do it alone. Hopefully you have your own network to help you along the way.
And finally my thoughts on the Avengers – it was a fun movie to watch. I highly recommend the movie for those that can let their imaginations overcome reality for a moment. And the PG-13 rating is about right; it’s definitely not for elementary kids. My only knock is that the film didn’t include Ant Man and Wasp. Am I the only one who likes those two? Come on Marvel, you need at least one more female super hero in the movie. I have a daughter as well! But the lack of female super heroes is a blog for another day.