It’s weird…as I was growing up, I thought that I had the perfect nuclear family. A happily married mother and father, a little sister, a cute little dog, and a white picket fence.
As I grew older I quickly realized that our family wasn’t perfect. In fact, it was far from it.
Spousal infidelity that almost split the family apart. An adopted little sister who had a child at age 16 that my parents had to get full custody of. Then I had a couple of out-of-wedlock children. Then my sister had a couple more. Dogs turned into cats. Day turned into night. Up turned down.
Now I’m on my second marriage and couldn’t be happier with my life. Between the two of us, there are FIVE children in our family; none of whom live with us full-time. I have three half-siblings and my wife has two daughters, so to say we’re a happy kaleidoscope would be a fair statement to make.
Thankfully, we all get along and have a great time when we’re all together. Even when we can only get three of the five together at once, it’s usually a great time. I never thought that I wanted kids, but now I couldn’t imagine my life without any of them!
We’re a television family, too, which is why I’m very excited to have joined forced with Netflix Canada to provide blog content based around what we watch. We already had a Netflix account, so the partnership simply made sense.
One of the fun “modern family” shows that we’ve introduced to the two youngest daughters (aged 10 and 12) is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Like many of you, my wife and I grew up loving that show and thought it would be a great family program to show the girls. I mean, Will Smith when he was the smart-ass “Fresh Prince” and Alfonso Ribeiro dancing to Tom Jones: what else do you need to know?.
Some of the clothing and musical references are dated, as to be expected. Some of the acting is completely over-the-top, also to be expected with a comedy series. But the great thing that we all enjoy is the laughter and fun that Uncle Phil and the rest of his family had at the end of the day. Sure, every episode was built around conflict…but this family still loved each other and did whatever they could to gel and come together as a unit.
My wife is now introducing Gilmore Girls to her own girls on the weekends I’m away visiting my son. I remember watching that show when it came out (c’mon…what guy in his early 20’s didn’t have a crush on Lorelai Gilmore??) and even though it was described as a “chick show”, I really enjoyed the witty banter back and forth between everybody. And again, it’s a story about a family who has their fair share of conflict and problems…both between the main character and her parents (because she had a child out of wedlock at a young age and didn’t want to rely on them to become an independent, strong, single mother) and between her and her daughter (who is growing up just like her, which results in a lot more witty banter and conflict).
I think it’s important that we watch shows like this because, as we prove, life isn’t perfect and neither is every family. Just because their parents aren’t together doesn’t mean that their life is any better or worse than anybody else’s.
I think it’s important that the kids see dysfunction in settings outside of their own family; whether it’s in a serious setting or in a comedic one. The modern family is one that includes all shapes and sizes and situations. Being a family like that ourselves, we can not only relate but can learn and grow.