This daughter takes on a huge task: being fair to a father who emotionally neglected his children in a film seen by the public. That she did it well is to her credit. Screened at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the movie was commented on by the film-maker Lucia Small who handled our questions. She shows her father with his own words, amidst his beautiful architectural works. She also interviews the siblings and the ex wives, ex-girlfriends, all muses to his work, but secondary. "Relationships come and go, " he says, "but the work is forever." "But what about the children" she asks, "What about them?" "Oh, they come and go as well, and sometimes they give you great pain." That remark is followed up at the end of the movie by a phone message that you hear while looking at a painting of his work: "I was not the father to you that I could have been."
Of course, this shows somewhat of an arrogance, since he is implying that he knew what to do. As a parent who also worshipped at the fake god, 'Career" and emotionally neglected her 5 children, I know that skill with a computer does not easily translate to skill in raising 'small people'....no pun intended. Lucia Small was the film-maker and she told us that her father's only complaint about the movie was, "It doesn't show enough of my work."
See this excellent movie with your children, and start a conversation with them about it. In the midst of daycare, school, tennis lessons, etc., etc. and our own long work-hours, they grow up having separate lives and we don't really know them. This might help you in that very important effort.
Having said that, I must also report that she told us her siblings were creative productive adults. One son, a carpenter is shown implementing the architectural plans of his father. How symbolic: the germ of an idea by the father is brought into being by the carpenter son, as the sperm issued by the father produced the son.
So how about the benefits of 'benign neglect'? And is 'happy' something you want your grown children to be in this world? See the movie....listen to your kids' opinion of it. And reflect.
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