I took my three children to see Arthur Christmas this weekend. Before you start, this isn’t a “movie review post”, but, if you’re looking for a great Christmas Movie you would do very well to go and see it.The premise of the movie is that Santa Claus is a generational job, with the mantle being passed down from father to son over 17 generations (so far…). There is a scene, about 1/3 of the way through, where “Grandpa Santa” takes the younger son, Arthur (not in line for the coveted , toy delivery role) on a ride in the sleigh. While they’re flying through the sky willy-nilly Grandpa is telling Arthur how every Claus has taken his successor out on a flight, even though the sleigh itself had been long abandoned and replaced with a futuristic space ship. Depsite all of the scientific advances, there was something magical about taking a flight in that sleigh. It brought it all together. Being Santa Claus was a joy, a privilege, an adventure, and a sacred trust. And the director, Sarah Smith, and her team of animators hit the bulls eye. When you see Arthur’s face, hair streamed back by the slipstream, smile broad and eyes wide — you believe in a lot more than Christmas. You believe in the magnificent wonder of an exciting new world.
As I’m watching this scene, I’m looking over at my children and asking myself: “How can I introduce them to the wonders I’ve seen?” And, following that, “How do I show them how truly powerful they really are?”
In both the service and my personal life, I’ve been an adventurer. The things I’ve seen and done — hell, sometimes I don’t even believe them! But now I’m getting to the point in life where I want to be passing that along to the next generation. To inspire them somehow to live a bold life, not a plain life. To show them that there is so much more out there then even their wildest dreams, an entire universe waiting to be experienced and explored.
As they get older, I’ll be taking them out more and more. A nudge off the trail into the woods, out into the ocean, down towards the deep end of the pool. We’ll hike longer trails and climb bigger rocks. But, I wonder, is there a huge “aha” moment? Some right of passage that really solidifies how life can be lead, like Arthur experiences in his movie?
As I search back into my childhood for such a moment, I don’t think I see one. There were many small things — archery lessons with my Dad, skiing for the first time, the alpine slide, a river rafting trip, many weekends camping. These events, and dozens of others, prepared me for the life I eventually lead. But there was no singular event, no grand welcome into a larger world.
Here’s my question out to the larger internet: Anyone have a grand adventure with their father that opened their eyes to a larger world? Or maybe it wasn’t an adventure, maybe it was a retreat of some kind that opened your eyes to the bold new world that was waiting? What impact, if any, did that have on you? What do you plan to do for your own children?
Please, share your experiences in the comments and pass this along. Let’s see what we can do to spread the spirit of adventure.