I recently watched the movie "25th Hour." It's a Spike Lee joint that follows a man's last day of freedom before he has to go to prison for a long time. It's underrated, and I highly recommend it. But it's particularly special because of the emotional kick the last scene has on me.
In that last scene, the father of the convicted man is driving him to the prison. As he is doing this he shares a fantastical What if! story with his beaten and broken co-pilot. What if he didn't take his son to prison and instead helped him escape. He imagines their drive away from that concrete coffin and toward an open road; their last shot of whiskey together as father and son at a dive bar before they part ways forever; the fresh, new life his son would try to rebuild; and the happiness doing this for his only son would bring him, despite never seeing him again and possibly going to jail for it himself.
I've only seen the movie a few of times, but each of those times I start tearing up during at this moment. It's not a particularly sentimental scene, and it's actually depicting a positive alternative reality to how things will shake out, but it still brings me to tears. I believe it does so because it reminds me of my own parents.
If I were in a similar situation (and were on the verge of being jailded), I know my parents would strongly consider, if not actually go through with, helping me escape. And that's because they've already done this many times before: they have sacrificed themselves for the family, risked it all for us, and done things that are purely altruistic simply because they want us to be and do well. It's hard for me to count the times they haven't acted this way.
If you watch the movie you might feel the same way. As Millennials we have a very different relationship with our parents than previous generations. We love our parents, both as parents and friends. Our bond with them is very strong, to the point where it's cynically critiqued by some. They say we are too dependent on our folks, and still have the umbilical cord attached. I'd wager that there is a tinge of jealousy in that sort of criticism.
We love our parents deeply and love spending time with them because we have always felt like they will do anything to help us do well.
Our relationship is based on mutual respect and transparency. We have conversations with them that older generations would never even consider having. We admire them, but were never taught to be intimidated (or threatened) by them. Millennials may be the best generation in recent memory at building a bond with our parents as actual people, not mythical deities that do no wrong.
In all, our parents have always treated and respected us as potentially-great human beings, and so from there we've been able to build a foundation for our relationship based out of kindness. This speaks to how we wear that sort of humanity on our sleeve in everything we do--how we treat others, how we choose our consumption, what drives our work. All of this is due in large part to your parents treating you with acceptance, love, and kindness.
For all of this and for much more, thanks, mom and dad. I love you.
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