Sunday, August 10, 2008

Of Emotions and Language

I’ve just finished watching Autumn Hearts (Emotional Arithmetic in Canada) on DVD. Luckily, amidst all the power outages on Saipan these days, some of us can still rely on laptops with DVD players and a barely two-hour battery charge.

This film is about a reunion of three people who were imprisoned in the Drancy internment camp by the the Nazis during World War II, and it explores how that experience decades later still affected their lives presently. I could not resist the powerhouse of a cast that included Susan Sarandon, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer and Gabriel Byrne. The gathering in the movie takes place in a soggy farm in Quebec during a beautiful Canadian Fall.

The great Max von Sydow and the always beautiful Susan Sarandon

Allow me to share two things that I took from the film that won’t spoil it for anyone who may want to watch it. One, the theme of being with someone with emotional damage really hit close home for me as I recalled a similar relationship I had with someone with a troubled past. When the damage surfaced and when it started affecting our lives, we had to seek professional intervention. This is why I am a big fan of counseling and psychotherapy. This experience was one of the most difficult and life changing passage in my personal story. There aren't any books nor movies or speeches that can truly prepare a person for this type of struggle especially when the onset is unannounced or without warning. Of course, I do not wish this challenging experience on anyone but when you are at your wits end and when the situation makes you wonder if counselling is needed, consider it seriously. A good therapist or counselor is sometimes the intervention that one needs in order to start increasing a personal sense of well being and reducing the effects of a damaging experience.

Secondly, a scene in the movie reinforced to me how beautiful language is and how important it is to teach children how to appreciate language. I think I read somewhere that language development begins before birth and continues to be a major part of the child's development for the first three years of life. This translates to roughly gaining about 900–1,000 words at the age of three which will make up most of the words that we know as adults.

Von Sydow, Roy Dupius as Benjamin Winters and Dakota Goyo as Timmy, Benjamin's son

In one scene, Christopher Plummer’s character dismisses his 6 year-old grandson, Timmy (played by Dakota Goyo) with, “If you are here to inquire about a visit to our friends the frogs, the time is not good.” Timmy sighs loudly and it cracked me up! How many of us speak like this to the children around us? I truly believe that we can best help a child develop good language by including the child in our conversations and believe that they have the capacity to learn and understand.

Have a happy Monday, all. May you find emotional balance and see the beauty in language.

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

1 comment:

Bev said...

sounds like a good movie. I'll have to watch it. Thanks for for sharing your thoughts.