I’m always inspired when I hear stories about parents who have (and are) supporting their out of the box thinkers in out of the box ways. It gives me a little more courage to do the same for my kids. And, helps me feel like maybe I’m not such a freak, lol.
And thus I found one of my most favorite books, The Film Club: A Memoir written by David Gilmore at a time when his son was failing high school and he, David, was unemployed. He came up with an out of the box way to use his now unlimited free time to help his 16 year old son:
Like Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, David Gilmour’s son Jesse was a smart, sensitive, restless, chain-smoking 16-year-old who was flunking out of everything at school. We’re not sure how Holden’s father reacted to his son’s failing (apart from sister Phoebe’s dire prediction: “Daddy’ll kill you!”), but we do know award-winning author Gilmour’s response to Jesse’s situation. As he tells it in his engaging new memoir, The Film Club: A True Story of a Father and Son, a perplexed and exasperated Gilmour finally let Jesse drop out, with only two conditions: he couldn’t do drugs, and he had to agree to watch three movies a week with the old man.
They called themselves “The Film Club” and for the next 3 years, their homeschooling revolved around screening movies. David says:
“Really, we could just as well have gone skydiving together,” says Gilmour, a tall man in his late 50s with a mop of grey hair and John Lennon glasses. “It wasn’t about the movies, it was about doing what is incredibly important when you have teenage children, which is spending time with them.
My favorite quotes from David, in an interview here, is this:
During the day, the two could often be seen through the front window, sprawled on a couch, screening videos. “There were neighbours walking by, looking in and going, ‘What are they doing in there? The kid’s dropped out of school, he’s watching TV all day with his dad. What a pair of bums,’” Gilmour says. “Every so often I’d think, maybe they’re right. Maybe I’m making a really big mistake here. I’m so hip, I’m calling it something else, but maybe this is just a flat-out f—up.”
I stopped counting how many times I’ve secretly thought to myself, “I am royally f-ing up my children here, with my little unschooling experiment…traveling around the country without a schoolbook or essay in sight…” lol. So good to know I’m not the only one.
Without spoiling The Film Club, it’s safe to say that David’s nerve-wracking gamble with Jesse paid off. “He turned out to be gold,” Gilmour says with relief, “but I wasn’t sure that he was; I didn’t know that he wasn’t going to turn into an asshole or a drug addict or a drunk. You’re never sure. Your kids don’t turn out they way you think they will, ever.”
I checked this book out of the library, but hope to buy it one day and read it over and over. Love it, both as an insight into movies and how they affect our lives, but also as a really brutally honest look at how two people connect during a time when most would be in opposing corners. I found it to be an extremely validating and inspiring book about respecting an out of the box thinker, which are stories that are few and far between.
Definately check it out…The Film Club: A Memoir
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