Tuesday, November 10, 2009
What I Want For My Boys
I recently read a book by David Levithan, Are We There Yet? I don't mean for this to be a review or anything, but the book is about brothers. Brothers who were once close and have since drifted apart. Their parents trick them into going on a tour of Italy together and during the course of their holiday, they reminisce about memories of their childhood together, how and why they grew apart, and realise how each admires the other and that though they are different, they are also quite similar at the same time. It's a sweet story. I loved it as I was reading it.
Mostly I was thinking, I hope that my two boys grow up to be close. And stay that way. I was never very close to my own brother. We each went through particular experiences in our childhood, and we reacted to those experiences in very different ways. It would be hard for those things not to have changed us, but I think the biggest change was that a gap grew between us and it was too difficult and too wide to cross that division with everything else going on. I haven't spoken to my brother on a regular basis for more than 10 years. I do not want that for my children.
Reading the Levithan book and thinking about my own relationship with my brother, it got me thinking of famous or historical brothers and the things that they have achieved together or are remembered for. Here are some of the brothers that I have found.
Romulus and Remus are the first brothers that I thought of when I was compiling this list. The twin brothers who were suckled by a she-wolf and later fought each other over who was to be ruler of Rome. I know my boys will end fighting over many things, but hopefully it will not lead to death. Or politics.
Next I thought of the Biblical brothers, Cain and Abel, who also ended badly. They are the sons of Adam and Eve and Cain is so filled with jealousy that he slays his brother Abel. I think sibling rivalry must be something that children everywhere have to deal with. I struggled with it for a long time, but I hope that the boys see that each of them will have his own relationship with other people that has nothing to do with the other brother.
I don't know much about the Marx Brothers, but they seemed pretty cool. A family of brothers who worked together in a comedy act with music, having success in vaudeville, Broadway and Hollywood. Just reading the wikipedia page had me stifling giggles. I'd like my boys to see the funny side of life, to be able to laugh at themselves.
Next up, we have the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, who famously collected the fairy tales and folk tales. The fairy tales seem to be a by-product of their academic research but either way, the end result is wonderful. I would love it if my boys were able to work together to bring the world something so fascinating as the stories that these two brothers have collected and shared.
I'm enjoying 'researching' for this post as I've read up on the Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville. They've been credited (with some controversy) with the first flight of an airplane in 1903 followed by later improvements related to the aviation field. I hope that whatever my boys end up doing, they are able to handle criticism with grace.
And then we have the Coen Brothers, Ethan and Joel, the successful filmmakers responsible for such movies as Raising Arizona, Fargo and O, Brother, Where are Thou (one of my favouritest movies). They are successful and talented and have some wonderful dialogue in their films. I truly hope that my two boys are creative in some way and can have a bit of fun with their talents.
What's that you say? I'm such a dork for including the Mario Brothers in my list of famous brothers? I accept that. But Mario and Luigi are absolute legends. Two plumbers saving the world from the creatures that live in the sewers? I'd love it if my boys fought together against the evil, wouldn't you?
And then there is John and Hank Green, who couldn't be left off my list. A few years ago, when the two brothers were living across the country from each other they started up Brotherhood 2.0 in order to fill each other in on their daily lives by video blogging. They're very entertaining and it's very obvious how proud of each other they are. John is a bestselling YA author and Hank, his younger brother co-founded a record label that promotes Youtube musicians. I sincerely hope my boys grow up to be as smart and funny as these two.