ImageWhen I told my teenage sons that I was considering trying my hand at being a movie critic, they emphatically advised against it.

"You can't do that!" They said. "You're too judgmental!"

Me? Judgmental? "What do they know?" I thought. They're just kids!

The movie critic idea eventually evolved, and expanded, to include critiques about daily life, and "stuff" in general. My boys were less than supportive.

"That won't work either!" They insisted. "Who wants to hear what you have to say?"


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Hmm…sounds a bit judgmental to me, but let's think about that for a moment.

Who wants to hear my opinions? Obviously, not my kids! They don't seem to care when I tell them that, where I grew up, boys didn't wear bracelets, girls didn't leave the house with the belt of their pants hanging below their hips, and piercings were for the ears only. When I issue an unpopular curfew, or veto a "road trip," my kids promptly inform me that I "don't know what it's all about." My way of looking at things, they believe, is "different" (for lack of a better word.) I assure you that my viewpoint is not skewed. The only thing that's different is the outlook of the separate generations. I merely call things as I see them.

Granted, I don't see as well as I used to. My once keen eyesight has been somewhat reduced to a hopeful squint. I recall sitting in my parents' kitchen several years back, listening to my father tell me how he bent to pick a "dust bunny" off the carpet, and was shocked to discover a silverfish in his hand. (How he managed to catch a squiggly silverfish is beyond me; his eyesight deceived him, but his reflexes were right-on.) I remember thinking: "how on earth could he mistake a silverfish for a piece of dust?"  Fast forward sixteen years: I was taking a shower the other day when something dark beneath the shower curtain caught my eye. I shook the curtain to release what I thought was a glob of shower gel. Now you tell me: how did I mistake a cricket for shower gel? (And how did the creepy thing get into my bathtub?) I was more than a little disturbed! The cricket quickly met a wet demise, and I realized I may not see things clearly all the time…like the "rabbit" that sat, immovable, for hours at the far end of my backyard one afternoon. Rocks are like that, you know.        

Perhaps my teenagers have a valid point. I don't see as well as I used to, and I am, admittedly, a bit behind the times, often happily so. But I know one thing for certain: life is a cycle. I now stand where my father once stood, as the parent with the unpopular viewpoint, the parent that sometimes "doesn't know what it's all about." The cycle moves forward. Someday, through the grace of God, my kids will be in my shoes, and they'll realize that not everything is what it seems, and Mom wasn't quite so out of sync after-all.

Until then, I'll just call things as I see them.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...