Category Archives: Parental influence

Cultural Values in Kids’ Movies

Movies reinforce ideas of family, culture, and societal expectations to kids, but especially they reinforce expectations of love and relationships. If I ever had doubts about this, they vanished last night as I watched “Shrek Forever After”. An innocent kids movie, as I watched it I realized how much these kids of movies subconsciously influence kids in their expectations of how relationships work.

In this movie, Shrek is trying to win back his wife Fiona after a confusing bout with Rumpelstiltskin. Due to a magic spell, she doesn’t know who Shrek is and he has to convince her that he knows her and in a previous time they were in love.

One dialogue goes something like this:

“Fiona I know everything about you.

I know that when you see a shooting star you close your eyes and make a wish.

I know that you don’t like the covers over your feet when you sleep.

I know that you only like grape jelly, not strawberry on your toast.”

Notice that every single statement is a very personal and focused on her as an individual.

My husband laughed out loud and made the comment: “In knowing so much about her, he didn’t say anything about her family, her upbringing, or her education.”

He was right. In America our love stories are based on affection between two people. A common understanding. The here and now.

Often times our view is, if you find someone who can understand you completely and that you get along with, those are real signs of a long lasting relationship. But is that a faulty expectation that comes out of our individualistic culture? These simple quote from a movie are small pointers to individualistic values communicating through film when it comes to love and relationships.

Imagine this same dialogue in an Indian (communal) context:

“Fiona I know everything about you:

I know that your mother made you moolee parantha every morning for breakfast.

I know that you got your family wanted you to go to IIT, but you did not get admission.

I know that your father had to take out a loan for your sister’s dowry that took him 13 years to pay back.”

Most likely, every statement would be family related!

I’m not saying that Indian culture is superior, just pointing out the differences in priorities and examining the differences in traditionally communal and individualistic cultures.

What do movies communicate about relationships?

After growing up in the US, I have been desensitized to see cartoon characters kissing. After several years of being immersed in Indian culture, I was very weirded out to see that they showed cartoon ogres kissing. Kissing was a central part of the story…and therefore a pointer to True Love. I never uncoded it as a kid, but now as an adult I can clearly see the message.

What kind of things are we teaching our kids with these movies? It is intended as an innocent fairy tale, but we need to be careful to make sure our kids understand that real love does not have to be wrapped up or expressed in physical affection.

And maybe we can learn to be careful what kind of values are being reinforced with film love stories like this. Is the here and now and personal preference all that matters in choosing a life partner?

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Timeless Nomadic Business Principles

I was raised in a globally nomadic business home.

I witnessed the global nomadism movement taking place as an 8 year old eating Cheerios at the kitchen table. I watched my dad packed his suitcase and fly to places like Japan, Korea, Slovenia, France, Brazil, China. He would come back with gifts from the exotic bazaars of the Far East, sweet chocolates from Germany and postcards from Washington, DC. Even as a child I instinctively felt the beginning of globalization when my Dad would bring me Little Mermaid embroidered jackets or Simpsons sweatshirts from Korea. I was never raised wondering “how do they know about Disney in Korea.” Somehow I put the pieces together realizing that there were intelligent, English speaking professionals, highly aware of American culture all over the world.

My dad would get calls at 3am from his colleague Mr. Lee in Korea, thus exposing me to the concept of time zones. Us kids would watch Sesame Street while my dad be busy on our old computer (whose monitor seemed to fill up a whole desk) writing reports, saving files on floppy disks and playing Mai Jong. This was before the days of laptops, ipods, wifi, cds, Kindles, Bluetooth, and Blackberries (although we did have a Zach Morris looking ‘car phone’).

And somehow it all got done.

My generation (23-31) has been raised in an interesting time where the generation gap has been vast. We grew up canning vegetables with our grandparents in the morning, and listening to “Gloria Estefan” on our Sony Walkmans in the afternoon. We’re blessed to understand ‘both sides of the fence’. What it is like without technology, and what it is like with technology.

The generation younger to us (16-22) can note imagine what it would be like without a cell phone, texting and facebook. Their iPhones are like a 3rd arm… always attached.

With all these changes and differences in generations, I believe there are some principles of business that are timeless.

What did I learn from this beginning age of globalism?

  • Boundaries between work life and home life are essential
  • Not all the fancy latest tools are necessary as long as you know how to use the ones you’ve got
  • Business only becomes more efficient if you know how to use your ‘slow times’
  • You’re only effective at work when your personal life is in balance.

Lets not forget these and feel like we need the fanciest tools, the newest gizmos, the hottest new training to be successful.

There are some things that don’t change even in a global economy.