Have you seen the film ‘Room‘? It has given me more food for thought than any film in a very long time.
Every day I look at my children with a jolt of realisation as I remember it’s my job to teach them about the world.
It’s up to me to teach them right from wrong, left from right, no from yes. I remember having a conversation to this effect with a new mum friend when I was still in the fuzzy baby stages of babyhood: we mused on the fact that, as parents, we are the gatekeepers of these children’s knowledge. We could teach them that blue was red and red was green and that’s what they’d believe (I didn’t though – don’t worry! They know what blue, red and green is ;).
Raising children, it’s a huge responsibility. But I‘ve always done it on instinct, following my heart rather than baby books.
If you ask me, that’s the best way to do it. I’ve always maintained that parenting is 90% instinct, 10% Google: I’ll stand by those figures forever. None of us know what we’re doing, really, we just need to ask our hearts (or the internet).
Although my children are both in educational settings, I like to think that we do most of our learning outside the house. Museums, parks, swimming pools, restaurants, playgrounds, beaches, woods, mountains… whether it’s using chopsticks or identifying an oak tree, I like to think there’s a fun lesson in everything.
But imagine if you couldn’t take your child out of the house? That’s the story new movie ROOM explores. His entire life, 5 year old Jack has only known one room – a 10 x 10 foot space which he shares with his mum. In this space she’s created the whole Universe for Jack, a Universe he’s completely happy to live in, never longing for anything else.
The story follows what happens when his mum decides to escape the room to give Jack the opportunity to make a thrilling discovery: the world.
The story, based on the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue, is written up to be a riveting emotional journey about the power of love, limitless imagination and the strength of the human spirit.
To be honest, as a mother I found it a simultaneously beautiful, heart-wrenchingly painful yet uplifting story to watch. I think I was touched as a single mum, too, like the one in the film – identifying strongly with ‘ma’ and the relationship she shares with Jack. Although my little boy has never been limited to one little space we still have our moments like ma and Jack, where he’s too scared or uncertain to face the outside world and turns to me for comfort and cuddles.
It’s an incredibly powerful story, shot at different points documentary-style or from Jack’s point of view. As soon as I’d finished watching I immediately clicked over to Amazon to purchase the book.
As Jack’s mum is always his one and only, his link to the rest of the world, it got me thinking about the lessons I teach my kids – wondering which are the most important and what they’ll take out of these as they grow. Whenever Elfie is upset at me telling her off I always try to explain that, as her mummy it’s my job to teach her how to be a good person, how to treat others the way they deserve to be treated, how to run her life with integrity. And we need the outside world for these important lessons.
Room has been deservingly nominated for 4 Academy Awards and is in cinemas now.
What about you? What’s the most important lesson your child will learn from you?
Thanks to Room for supporting MTT.