He will be remembered for his numerous talents, movies, and hilarious stints of adlib comedy brilliance.
I will remember him for his great parenting advice.
Hollywood isn’t known for giving great parenting advice or producing many good parent role models but I enjoyed the sound parenting tips I saw in the movie “Hook.” In the movie Robin Williams played the role of Peter Pan, only this Pan was grown up and no longer living in the imaginary world of Neverland.
He had forgotten that he had once been the real Peter Pan and thought it was only a fairy tale told by his Granny Wendy. In his current life he had become a very successful business man who had little-to-no time for his kids.
Peter Pan’s old nemesis, Captain Hook, missed dueling with the former leader of the boys from Neverland so he kidnaped Peter’s kids and took them to Neverland. It was Captain Hook’s hope to get revenge from Peter for the loss of his hand. His plan worked initially, as the grown up Peter Pan who had no time for his kids is forced to leave his busy job and race to rescue them from the vengeful captain and his bumbling crew of pirates.
It’s a silly movie with kid-styled humor that includes pirates, Indians, food fights, ships, and fairies (Julia Roberts).
Here are my top three parent tips from the movie.
- Don’t forget you were a kid once.
- Show up at your kid’s events.
- Put the phone down and jump on the bed with your kids.
There are many great tips in the movie; these are just three that stand out. If you saw the movie tell me what your top parenting tips were.
You were a kid once—act like it!
Peter Pan had gotten old and forgot that he once was a kid.
As parents we live too much in the busy world of bills, work, and responsibilities. We need to remind ourselves to relax and play; especially with our kids. My kids are older now and they don’t want to play with me anymore (sniff-sniff) but those of you who have preschool and elementary age children need to play with your kids while they are young.
Oh and here’s a free tip; it’s not just as good if you sign them up for a soccer camp or judo class. As parents we need to play with our kids. Toss the ball, roll down a grass hill, build a block tower, or have imaginary tea and crumpets with your sons and daughters. Robin Williams character had to remember how to have a food fight. Don’t let that happen to you. Try tossing a grape at your son when your wife isn’t looking. If he tosses one back it might lead to some fun.
Show up at your kids events!
The business-man Peter was too busy to attend his son’s baseball game.
He had a business associate video-tape the game so he could watch it later. He somehow believed this would convince his son he was interested in what he was doing. He made his problem worse by swearing to his child he would be at the next game. “My word is my bond!” He lied to his child and his son saw through it. As parents we need to cut back on the busy schedule and make it a priority to be at the dance recitals, ballgames, and spelling bees that our kids are performing in. Don’t tape them or promise to show up when you know you won’t. Be there! Be in the front row if you can and don’t take your eyes off of your child. You can check your email later.
Put down the phone and jump on the bed!
The grown-up Peter Pan had forgotten the joy of playtime.
The cell phone was always on and never to be ignored. A business call was always his top priority. He had strict rules in his house which included no jumping on the bed and never open the window. A regimented and fun-less life was perfectly fine for children who were expected to be successful someday.
Poppy-cock to that!
Life is intended to include mountains of fun and joyful memories.
Kids often learn best when their sides ache from laughter. Jumping on the bed is a great opportunity to combine tickle-wars and scraping knuckles on the ceiling with some great belly laughs. When our kids were jumping on the bed my priority wasn’t the phone; it was to keep them from flying onto the floor or into the walls. Peter Pan had his ‘pixie dust’ to help him but I had to catch my girls when they flew too far from the safety of the bed. That’s when the tickle-wars started. I would fly them safely back to the bed and bounce them on a pillow and commence the tickle attack. Often times they screamed for mercy and needed a potty-break so they didn’t pee their pants when the wars continued.
The grown-up Peter Pan learned his lesson.
He put the phone down, opened the windows, let his kids imagine and play and… he also joined in on their fun.
Let’s make sure we act like kids with our kids once in a while.
Thank you for my children and all little boys and girls. Remind me that Jesus was glad to let children interrupt an important adult conversation to let a bunch of children come to visit. Help me to receive and welcome my children as freely as Christ did in his busy schedule. If I have forgotten how to play, please show me through the actions of my child.
But when Jesus saw it (the disciples rejecting the kids)
He was much displeased, and said unto them,
suffer the little children to come unto me,
and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Mark 10:14 (KJV)