Inspired by a Huffington Post article by Ronald C. Warren, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, we look at how Disney’s new movie “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” encourages parents not to box in their children.
The movie follows the lives of Cindy and Jim Green (played by Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), a kind couple living in the town of Stanleyville. Their lives are thrown for a curve when they find out they are infertile and can never have children of their own. In order to overcome and move on from the emotions involved with this news they decide to literally bury it by writing down all the things they would want in their dream child, a perfect child, putting it in a box and burying it in the back yard.
After an overnight rainstorm hits a 10-year-old boy named Timothy appears in their bedroom, covered in dirt, addressing them as mom and dad as if he’s been there for years. Over the following days the couple realizes that this is the child that they dreamed and wished for, but they learn the hard lesson that everything is not always perfect.
Dad wished that his perfect child would “score the winning goal” in soccer. They get their wish. Timothy scores the winning goal… for the other team. They also want their kid to “rock” musically. Well, Timothy doesn’t exactly rock, at least not in the classic sense. He eventually “rocks” at a recital, but again, Timothy isn’t like the other kids. Mom wanted their child to “love and be loved,” but when Timothy starts hanging out with an older, questionably dressed young lady, mom is not so sure she wants her son falling in love just yet.
They are all harsh lessons that parents must learn about the balance between expectation and realization when it comes to their children. The movie teaches the lesson and shows the parents learning that while dreaming your child may be the next football star, there are more important things to invest your emotions into and allow your children to live their own dreams.
Warren writes a note on how this applies specifically to dads, “This is especially true for dads. Dads, and men in general, tend to focus on what others do rather than who they are. Rather than focusing on what we want our children to be, we should be focused on how we want them to “be.””
The movie is charming, light-heated, and suitable for all ages. If you are looking for something to do with your kids consider “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.”