We live in a MOVIE world, but life is a NOVEL.

One of the great traditions I used to have with my kids was going to Barnes and Noble once a week and having each of them pick out a book. Any book they chose. I think they picked everything from the Magic Tree House series to Little House On The Prairie, to Captain Underpants, to Harry Potter. If they had an interest in it I let them decide for themselves if they wanted to pursue it.

If nothing else, my kids could read.

One of my favorite pictures is of me and the littlest one. (it’s not a good photo but the memory is) I’m lying on my stomach on the floor reading a book and she is sitting on my back looking the other way, using my head as a backrest, reading a book herself. Actually she is probably just looking at the pictures but still, they learned to love to read early on. I am a great proponent of teachers, since they spend so much time with our kids, but I think you can learn a lot from books. If a subject piques your interest you can always go get a book (or a website) and read and learn all you want. No need to wait for the class, just grab a book and go at it!

My favorite author.

My favorite Sci-Fi author is Orson Scott Card; the first book of his I found was called “Ender’s Game”. I couldn’t put it down several years ago. I bought and read the rest of the series. Many years after that, my son found them on a shelf or box somewhere and loved it. He read the whole series too and we have had many discussions over the years about the story.

They finally made it into a movie.

Now, I’m cheap, I like to say frugal… Anyway, we waited until it came out on video to watch it. Spencer is at IUPUI now so I took the day to go to his apartment, (that still sounds weird to say, he’s one of my babies) and we sat down to watch Ender’s Game.

I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised at what a good house keeper he is!

After the movie was over he asked “So, what did you think, Dad?”

I hadn’t realized until he asked. I was thinking “life isn’t like a movie, it’s a novel.”

It wasn’t a bad movie. In fact several people I know had seen it and told me it was really good. Awesome special effects and it was “different” than most movies out now.

None of them had read the book though.

Missing Parts

There were a lot, and I mean A LOT of parts of the story missing.

Most of the background wasn’t there. Some of it was just plain made up to fit the 2 hour movie time. They said Ender, yes, that’s his name, was a third? What’s a third? They never explain that the overpopulation of our planet resulted in limits to the number of kids you could have.

They said he was like Peter, a killer. They barely touched on what Peter, his brother, did. Even though in the book that was a big part of what motivated Ender.

He didn’t want to be or do what his brother did.

Why Shoot?

Just like on the news the other night. The headline was all about a manhunt for a guy that shot his ex-wife. Why? What could have happened to cause a guy that had been awarded custody of their daughter to shoot the woman? That sounds crazy but I’m sure there must be some reason. I looked it up because I wanted to know why.

It turns out that his ex had kidnapped the little girl. His lawyer had called the police and was told “it’s a civil matter” and we won’t do anything. I have to guess there must have been a reason why the courts gave him custody. I know for a fact that in Indiana the default is to give custody to the mother.

Was he trying to protect her?

Was she in danger?

Was he willing to spend the rest of his life in jail to protect his little girl?

We will never know because the highlights are all that gets publicized.

It’s like the movie version of a good book. What were the details? Was he really a hero protecting his child? Or a nutjob? Who knows???

ESPN’s Top Ten

It’s a lot like watching the Top 10 highlights on SportsCenter on ESPN. You might see a great dunk, or a steal, but you can’t tell from that 10 second clip that the team lost! It was an awesome 360 windmill tomahawk slam you say? Big Hairy Deal! So what! Did it help the TEAM win the game? Obviously not, THEY LOST!

Slow down.

Everything is so fast paced now. Kids have cell phones as young as kindergarten. Do we really need to keep track of every single second of everyone’s life? I guess the NSA thinks so.

As a kid I remember taking off as soon as we woke up. (yes, I know that was in the 70’s) and we would take off walking along the railroad tracks, just a few kids, and our only rule was to be home before dark.

Nowadays that would be thought of as crazy!

The thing is, we learned about life that way. We saw animals, we learned to hide out and take shelter in an old barn if we saw a storm coming, and we knew to stay away from the pipes that dumped turds and toilet paper into the creek.

We also stopped to look at the flowers. When we studied flowers in biology I already knew the parts. I might not have had the correct name for a stamen or a pistol, but it was easy to put the names to the things I already knew.


When you slow down a bit, those are the things you notice and learn.

The details that make the story more complete. Like the background you get reading a book instead of the movie. Like learning to help a friend climb a steep hill. Or your friends helping you pick the bike up off your leg.

Life isn’t a highlight real. It does matter whether the team wins or not, It does matter why they call you a “third”.

I’m not saying put away the cell phone, I’m not saying don’t watch the highlights.

I am saying take time when your kid asks you, “who is Ender?” pick up the book. Go to the library if you are cheap like me. Spend time to find out the background in life.

I am saying life is a novel, not a movie.

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