Idina Menzel belts out “Let it go, let it go,” and although John Travolta may not know her name, we do. We know it as well as we know every word to that song. If we have heard it once, we have heard it a thousand times. I say it is time for a new anthem, one that celebrates happy families. How about, “Never let it go!”
In a recent television commercial for an insurance company, a simple story is told in progressive frames. First, we see the single guy at a bar with his friends having a good time. He raises his arms in a victory salute and yells, “I am never getting married!” Next frame, he is buying a diamond ring for his girlfriend. Then we see him emphatically telling his new wife, “We are never having children.” The next scene shows him awestruck as he cradles his newborn baby. Then in a mundane domestic scene with his wife carrying a load of laundry, he approaches her to say, “We are not having any more…” But he doesn’t get a chance to finish because she announces, “I’m pregnant.” The last scene says it all. He is sitting on the couch with the glow of the TV as the only light in the room. Under his right arm is his wife nestled against him, under his left arm his child is snuggled close, and on his lap his baby is resting against his chest. Poignantly, while they are fast asleep, he is awake as we hear him say, “I am never letting go.” It is not particularly profound. but still it is thought provoking nonetheless.
Since it is a TV commercial, hopefully many people get to see it. And it gets them to stop and think as it did for me.
It made me think of the number of children today who grow up dealing with the devastation of divorce, the multiple relationships of their parents, the failed attempts at blended families, the live-in partners not yet defined as a step-parent, and the temporary siblings. There’s also the constant need to adjust and readjust to change in not only the significant people they call family, but also the physical place they wish they could call home. What is absolutely certain for these children, is that nothing is certain, nothing is permanent and everything in their lives remains fair game for change.
If this sounds a bit exaggerated, a few minutes online doing the research on current statistics may be more convincing than the viewpoint of an old Gigaboomer. The research will talk about the negative impact the breakup of a family has on children. The facts support that the children’s physical and emotional health will decline while their school dropout, crime and suicide rates will rise. Here is one fact from current research that should shock us all. According to Patrick Fagan and Robert Rector, authors of ‘The Effects of Divorce on America,’ of all children born to married parents in the year 2000, “fifty percent will experience the divorce of their parents before they reach their 18th birthday.”
The way I see it, we are in control and we have the power to reverse the statistics one family at a time, starting with our own. We can love, commit and keep promises without an expiration date. So this month when we celebrate Valentine’s Day, let’s set aside time to celebrate love of family.
Things to do:
• Five Rivers Environmental Education Center www.dec.ny.gov/education/1835 Visitor Center open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Thatcher State Park www.nysparks.com/parks/128/details
• Stroll the city streets to view the sculptures and architecture of the buildings.
• The New York State Museum www.nysm.nysed.gov Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Carousel Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• The local park
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