Some Life Lessons from the Oscars last night for us to pass on to our sons (and daughters):
The importance of telling our stories: Tarrell Alvin McCraney, who along with Barry Jenkins won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for “Moonlight”, dedicated their Oscar to “all those black and brown boys and girls and non–gender conforming who don’t see themselves.” As Viola Davis accepted her Oscar for best supporting actress, she talked about the importance of telling stories: “People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say…[t]he stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition.” Hidden Figures, which received Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress nominations, brought to the screen the little known story of three women who were instrumental to the success of the NASA moon mission. We must encourage our children to tell their own stories, and we have to make sure they hear stories of triumph and failure in which they can see themselves.
When things go wrong, how you handle it really matters: Speaking of triumph and failure, the flubbed awarding of the Best Picture Oscar last night—first given mistakenly to “La La Land” and then correctly to “Moonlight”—gave all parties involved the opportunity to experience both of these emotions in the space of a few minutes. But the way the nominees for both films handled this speaks volumes about their integrity and grace—key values for our children to have.
Upon learning of the mistake, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz interrupted his fellow producer’s thank you speech, called the Moonlight team to the stage, displayed the card that declared them the winner, and gave Moonlight director Barry Jenkins a big hug. Jenkins began his acceptance speech declaring “..that was so gracious, so generous of them. Much love to La La Land”.
Talk with your kids about the integrity Horowitz displayed as he swallowed his obvious disappointment at discovering he did not in fact win Best Picture and congratulate the guys that did. Point out the grace with which Jenkins displayed no anger at the screw-up up and immediately acknowledged the tough position in which Horowitz had been placed. This is grown folks behavior at its best.
We can’t leave this conversation about integrity and grace without noting the glaring absence of those values in all that comes from the Oval Office these days. We have a president who regularly makes false statements, and when he is shown that they are false, he most ungraciously insists that they are true, and then accuses the fact bearer of creating “fake news”. Be sure to remind your sons and daughters on a regular basis that an “alternative fact” is actually a lie, and if they are ever caught up in a lie, even if it didn’t start with them, they need to admit it and stand down.
These are the times in which we live, Moms and Dads, and we must take the Life Lessons where we find them.