Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Harry Potter and Goonies

When I was a kid I loved the movie Goonies. I'm guessing you did too. Goonies, as you may recall, was about a group of misfit kids who rescue their parents from foreclosure by finding lost treasure.  This movie had it all--adventure, pirates, outsmarting bad guys, booby traps, cute boys (major kid crush on Mikey, aka Sean Astin!) and a little smooching along the way. Goonies remains a cult classic and treasure to most of us who grew up in the 80's.

Sometime in my college years I remember meeting someone who didn't see Goonies when they were a kid, but who had recently seen it now as a young adult in their early 20's. His reaction was, It's OK... but it wasn't that great. I don't get why it's such a big deal.

Excuse me? I said. Get out of my house. OK, I didn't say that second part...but I was dumbfounded. How did a peer of mine not like Goonies? I had never come across this rare sub-species before.

And then it hit me....

Ooooooh...he didn't see it when he was a kid. He only saw it when he was an adult. No wonder...

Somethings you have to experience through the narrow and short lived lens of kid-eyes, or it just won't grab you. The world and life experience of a child is pretty small and if you grow up in a typical family most of your life is spent (if you're lucky) being told what to do, where to go, what to eat, how to dress, and how to act. Watching Goonies as a kid, completely validates your life as a kid. It's all about kid empowerment. When I watched Goonies as a youngster, I was more certain than ever that given the right set of circumstances I could conquer the world. This is not rocket science...we all enjoy watching this narrative play out--the narrative of 'our people' being empowered and doing the things no one thought they (and we by extension) could do. Kids, more than any other group I can think of, love seeing this kid-empowerment narrative in the movies they watch and the books they read. Kids saving the day and righting all the wrongs of the stupid or evil adults around them is pretty much the theme of every Roald Dahl book ever written.

Of course if you can't experience that childish thrill as a child, the next best thing is to experience it with a child. Enter Harry Potter.

I was already in college when the first Harry Potter book came out and by the time it really caught on and the movies were being made I was graduated from college and a single working girl. I actually tried to read the first one, but wasn't particularly moved and so I put it away. As the books and movies became a bigger and bigger deal I knew that I needed to give them another shot, but I made the decision to wait until I could read them with my kids. In some ways this has actually been really hard! Not necessarily the waiting, but trying to remain as pure of a Harry Potter virgin as possible. You guys, Harry Potter is everywhere. He pops up as a trending topic on my Facebook feed occasionally and some neighbor kids even told my daughter (who told me) some major spoilers this past year and I was really upset! Like, I texted the mom and ask her to talk to her kids about not spoiling the books for us upset--ha! (Don't worry we had a super mature, very adult discussion about what they were and were not allowed to discuss when it comes to Harry Potter.)

Without a doubt this has been one of my best parenting decisions to date. It's been such a special thing to share with PSP. We've enjoyed all the post twists and surprises together, we share our theories and excitement... it's our thing. I'm not the type of mom who plays dolls or make believe with my kids. Nor do I feel bad about that--I've never really felt that it's my job to play with my kids. But I do think it's important to bond and have fun with your kids in both purposeful and spontaneous ways. I enjoy doing lots of things with my kids but with Harry it's not just me sharing something I love, it's us discovering something new together. And while I'm usually the one lending my voice by reading out loud, somehow PSP lends me her eyes and I get to go back in time and experience it all in kid-vision.

I'm telling you, it's magic.

Does anyone else feel that there are certain books, movies, events that you have to experience as a kid to really enjoy it? What about seeing the world through your kids eyes now--is there anything in particular you enjoy re-living or experiencing for the first time? Also, what is your favorite way to bond with your kids? Just writing this post already has me filled with childhood nostalgia...sigh. 


  1. i feel this way about musicals. if you didn't grow up watching them, belting out the songs along with the characters without reservation, it's hard to gain enthusiasm for them as an adult. i think we feel too silly to suspend reality.

  2. I read The Princess Bride 7 or 8 times when I was a kid. I'm afraid to read it again now and lose whatever it was that totally captured me years ago!

  3. I was going to say the Princess Bride as well - that was a complete joy watching with my kids the first time. Same with a lot of the Christmas specials on now (the original Grinch cartoon, Rudolph, etc)- I remember adoring them as a kid and now my kid do too.

    As for Harry Potter- I did read them all as a young adult, in fact I started reading them years after they came out right before we started trying to have kids. We tried for 3 years to have our kids so when I read the very first book with my now 9-year-old, I cried and cried when it was over because I couldn't believe I was finally sharing this with my own kid. Still one of my favorite parenting memories ever! Enjoy the series! :)

  4. I just got my 8 year old twins a new Harry Potter book I found on Amazon. It's the regular first book but it's a beautiful hardback book with pictures. I'm thinking it will be a good way to introduce them to a story I love so much. Check out that book if you want, it seems super cool

  5. I LOVE reading books out loud with my kids. We don't do it all the time, but when we do, it's always special. Fantasy books seem to me the best sort! You can really get into them together.