Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

Is Pixar’s “Up” about giving up?

June 9, 2009

Imagine a guy carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Family, work and the unexpected turbulence of life call for repeated sacrifices of time, energy, finances and passion. Dreams of youth, embraced with the vigor of certainty, over the years gently give way to a hopeful longing. Until, with the passing of his wife, they turn into scornful remorse of promises unkept.

Were the story not so pervasive, Pixar’s latest movie, Up, might just be another overly marketed animated film. But it’s not hard to see something of a Carl Fredrickson, the crotchety old widower, in each of us. [Warning: If you haven’t seen the film, what follows may be a bit of a spoiler.]

Ellie, Carl’s wife, meant the world to him. After her death, when faced with eviction from the home that held her memories, he sets out finally to pursue the dream they once shared; to have their home on the edge of Paradise Falls somewhere in South America. And he’s taking his house with him. Thousands of balloons affixed to the chimney turn it into a floating fortress for him and an unexpected stowaway, Russell, an enthusiastic young Wilderness Explorer seeking to earn his “aid the elderly” badge.

Eventually they hover within eyesight of Paradise Falls. Reluctantly, Carl drafts his tag-along to help him pull the house on foot, like a hot-air balloon in a parade, toward the distant fall’s shore. And therein lies a symbolic juxtaposition of a modern dad. Here’s a determined man—going somewhere—pulling everything he’s built with everything he’s got. Alongside him, a distractible and often irritating boy, far more interested in what’s around him than the destination. Watch a short scene from the movie.

I was that boy too often for my father. Like Russell, my restlessness and desire to explore were a source of consternation on our hunting and fishing trips. I’m that man too often now for my children. On excursions, like Carl, I frequently lock in on my timetable and have difficulty adapting to my family’s pace or their interest in enjoying the moment.

Fortunately, as with Carl, we can change. His change came when he discovered a note written to him in his wife’s dreambook. “Thanks for the adventure—now go make a new one.” Though Ellie never saw her dream of living on Paradise Falls, she nevertheless had her adventure fulfilled in the life journey she shared with Carl. That realization made a difference, not only because it changed Carl’s perspective on years gone by, but also because he could now be more present for a young, overly enthusiastic child, in need of a father. Do you have any of those living at your house?

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Whose Dream is it Anyway?

April 24, 2009

Saturday afternoons from October through February would often find me in the basement of our 1 ½ story house in suburban Richfield, MN. Poised in front of a Minnesota Gopher basketball game, I continually made my best attempt to emulate one of the best sportscasters I had ever heard, Ray Christensen. With the golden tones of a 14 year old, I grabbed the attached microphone and spoke fervently to an imaginary listening audience, captured on an old flip-up tape recorder. I knew the lingo and every name of every player in the Big 10 conference. All the while I dreamed of one day being the voice of the Minnesota Gopher’s and the other Minnesota professional sports teams.

“Ray Williams dribbles toward the lane, dishes off to Mychal Thompson…he weaves his way past the last defender and lays it in for TWO…”    Ahhh…I remember.

My mom was a great defender of my dreams. She encouraged me in the things that I wanted to do. Her dream for me was kid-with-planel1that my dreams would come true. Eventually, I entered Brown Institute, a local school that spit out some of the best broadcasters in the Midwest and around the country. (more…)