I bet you might be wondering why I am blogging about the movie Finding Nemo. Have you seen it? I LOVE it! Not just because it is super cute but because it is the perfect movie for parents of kids with vision impairments. I bet you didn't know that!
Most of our parents start out like Marlin does in the beginning of the movie. Marlin is happy, excited about the babies and life is good. Suddenly his world is turned upside down when unexpected events change the course of his parenthood (sound familiar?). He loves his precious Nemo as any parent naturally does. However, pay attention to his parenting style. He goes from carefree and fun new parent to the hover craft---totally over protective and anxious about keeping Nemo completely safe.
He finally takes Nemo to school and it is a bit awkward. The part I want you to pay attention to is when Marlin tells Nemo "he can't do it." Sometimes it is easy to lose track of the importance of empowering independence. There's a lot on your plate concerning school, IEPs, paraprofessionals, etc but you can't lose sight of empowering independence.
There really are a ton of wonderful parallels and I want you to stop and really ponder this journey that Marlin embarks on. He has to go on a journey and learn from unlikely sources about how to empower and believe in his son.
Now I know you are thinking, "Robbin, I believe in my child..." I am sure you do BUT I see too many parents forget to empower their kids and accept their vision impairment. Remember from my most recent posts: Everything I learned, I learned because my parents made me do it!! Nemo also had to go on his journey and notice that there are definite parts without Marlin. Nemo had to learn that he can do it. He had to struggle and problem solve. It's okay for your kids to have struggle. Our kids learn by experience. That only comes when they can actually do something. I repeat, it's OKAY for our kids to struggle and problem solve. The last critical part is the 'aha' moment at the end when Marlin not only reconnects with his son but truly lets Nemo be independent. The result of that is that Nemo does something amazing!
I am going to post some of my favorite scenes that I want you to pay close attention to.
Finding Nemo Drop Off (This is where Marlin isn't empowering. He's acting out of panic protection. Notice how Nemo feels.)
Meeting Crush and learning about how to let your child struggle. (I LOVE this scene! Remember parents, "kill the motor". Let your kids struggle!!).
Last step: Empowerment in real life!!
Watch the movie. Take notes. Ponder. Think about one thing you can STOP doing for your kids and one thing they can START doing for themselves today. It's okay to make your child do chores (in fact, 20 minutes daily is what I recommend for all my students!). Thank you Marlin for being our unlikely mentor! Pop some popcorn and have a movie date :)