Fatherhood and the Boy with stripped pajamas

220px-TheboyinthestripedpyjamasWhat do Will Turner, 9-year-old Bruno from “The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas”, and a Colin Ferrel character have in common? A haunting dilemma concerning their fathers.

Bruno’s Father is an officer in the German Army in 1942 who has just been transfered to operate Auschwitz, where 1 out of every 6 Jews killed by the Nazi’s lost their life. Throughout the story, Bruno is left in the dark about what his father actually does, but as the reader the question squats between the lines: How can a man who kills thousands a day remain a good dad to his kids?  He is a loving father to his kids and devoted to their well being, yet at the same time murdering fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters.  Bruno slow discovers what’s on the other side of the fence.

In Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is dangling precariously from a boom above the thrashing waves.  Captain Jack Sparrow, at the helm, has turned the boat into the wind, scraping it across the deck, forcing Turner to hang on for dear life as the boom stopped over the sea.  Sparrow says to him: “Now as long as you’re just hanging there.  The only rules that matter are what a man can do and what a man can’t do.  For instance, you can accept that your father was a pirate and a good man, or you can’t.  But pirate is in your blood boy and you’ll have to square with that some day…”  Turner struggles with having a good father who’s job wasn’t featured at career day.

James Clayton (Colin Ferrel) is a CIA recruit who is mentored by Walter Burke (Al Pacino) in The Recruit.  Clayton has been searching for the truth about his father since he disappeared over a decade prior.  Unbeknownst to Clayton, Burke served with his father in the CIA.  When Burke hints at this, Clayton puts two and two together and is flummoxed.  Burke says: “So he told stories.  That’s what your father did; doesn’t mean he didn’t love you.”  Clayton is confronted with the fact that his father lied about his career, his exploits, his activities, but was still his father. These scenes aren’t unfamiliar these days.  With some of the kids I deal with regularly, this is the dilemma they have.  For some dad may sell drugs, run in a gang, illegally trade guns, or even worse.  Do their father’s love them any less?  Can a father be a good father if his business is crooked; even illegal?  I know it takes a man to be a father, but how much does a job make the man?

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About Travis Long

I am a cowboy saved by the grace of God.

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