The movie Gladiator should be a must-see for parents. Not just because Russell Crowe kicked butt, okay that too, but because it could offer a lesson to parents like the ones at Wal-mart yesterday. There’s this little old lady at the deli. She’s got to be at least 80 years old but she looks good, snazzy in a matching denim jacket and skirt. She’s spunky and anxious to place her order. She has only a few items in her cart and she’s mumbling to them to step it up. When they finally got to her another woman arrived. She yells, “hey mom,” and spreads herself on the edge of a crate of cantaloupes. Immobile as a stump she conversated back and forth with mom.
Mom lamented she’d forgotten a couple of things. Daughter is right on talking about something. It’s obvious the crate and her are one and she not leaving to go get those couple of items mom hinted at. And mom’s hands full dealing with the lackluster women behind the deli counter. Two actually appeared ready to throw down. One had an accent, maybe island, maybe African. She seemed to be taunting the other. They had to be in their sixties but whined and rolled their eyes like kids. One got really worked up because mom changed the order after she’d just got done slicing up a pound of meat.
Finally mom’s meat all sliced up but what’s this? Daughter yelled, “Mom, get some pastrami.” Poor mom is wilting like a day-old flower right before my eyes but stepped back up to the counter, peered through the glass as though she was reading fine print and tried to spot some pastrami. “What kind,” she asked. I looked back at the daughter. Surely she could get off that heavy load long enough to point out the meat to mom. Ticked off I turned and glared. When I turned back mom mumbled, “These folk gonna throw me outta here in a minute.” I pointed out some pastrami. It was turkey. Mom pointed it out to the deli worker. “It’s turkey,” the lady announced, making sure mom knew what she was getting. “Turkey alright,” mom yelled across to daughter. Turkey would work yelled back daughter. So mom added turkey pastrami to the pile of coldcuts and vanished from view while I stepped up to place my order.
Now that daughter reminded me of the emperor’s son in Gladiator, when he arrived to the battle scene via coach he’d shared with his sister.
Son(Commadus): “Have I missed the battle?”
Father(Marcus Aurelius): “You have missed the war.”
Son is not only a slacker but off in the head as well. The emperor is well aware when he tells him, “Commadus, your faults as a son, are my failure as a father.” Much to his detriment the father then proceeded to tell the son his intention to empower the general. This move would have cut son out. If you watched the movie, you know what happened next. Commadus felt entitled by virtue of birth but he’d not once put his life on the line or done much of anything except lust after his own sister.
Not saying this lady deserved nothing and maybe that day she was just tired. But if that was how she generally behaved, if her mother passed and left her nothing or a lot less than what she expected, to me it would have served her right.
It’s been alleged Warren Buffet plans to leave most of his fortune to charity. Not because his children are slackers or inattentive to his needs, but rather because he feels he has supplied them with the necessary tools to carve out a comfortable living for themselves. Tori Spelling, Aaron Spelling’s daughter complained he’d only left her $800,000 of his half-billion-dollar estate. Leona Helmsley, the billionairess, allegedly left the buck of her fortune to her dog, Trouble and foundation for dogs while leaving a couple of grandchildren zip, zero.
Like the emperor, Marcus Aurelius, parents shouldn’t just automatically leave stuff to their children. And by that same token, children shouldn’t go postal if you don’t get any cash or get passed over to run the family business or any number of things to which you feel entitled. Chances are there’s a reason.