“My mother listened sympathetically to my dreams of a career and then taught me another recipe.” – Gene Tierney, Laura
I don’t have a favorite anything. (Okay; I have a favorite guy, but that’s about it) However, if I had to pick a favorite movie it just might be Laura. It is a classic Noir film with some of the greatest actors of their day. One of my favorite lines from Laura really has nothing to do with the plot points, but I find it thought-provoking just the same.
Dana Andrews is standing in Gene Tierney’s kitchen, there under the guise of investigating a murder. He asks her to brew some coffee and he’ll make the breakfast (seeing as she is a career girl and he assumes she won’t know how to cook.) Gene Tierney (Laura) calmly replies that he can make the coffee and she’ll make breakfast.
It seems that while Laura always dreamed of being a powerful career woman, Laura’s mother had her own ideas of accomplishment.
What caught my ear right off the bat, was that her mother listened. Her mother didn’t ignore her, she didn’t prevent Laura from sharing her dreams, nor did she talk over her. When her mother listened, she didn’t attempt to talk Laura out of her goals and explain why they might be silly; she was sympathetic and caring.
Secondly, while her mother was sympathetic, she was also realistic. Hey, a girl’s got to eat! It didn’t seem to matter where Laura envisioned herself years from childhood, mom always knew food was going to be important. (Smart woman.)
Why bother writing a post on this, you ask? Because I think there are life lessons for me to learn.
When my children come to me with their dreams of the future, how do I listen? Am I being sympathetic; am I even listening? When they talk, am I waiting for an opportunity to explain “reality” to them or am I truly giving them my attention?
While some of their goals might seem out of reach (and extremely far-fetched), they will learn those lessons on their own. Dreams are exactly that… dreams. When my children come to me with their hopes and desires, I would like to think I too would be sympathetic and open to listening. Knowing they can openly communicate further develops our relationship.
I also want to make sure that, while my children have these grand objectives, they are being taught the fundamentals of life. They might wish to be a major movie star or the next famous astronaut, but they still need to know how to pay their own bills and cook their own food.
One thing that ought to be noted about this scene in the movie, is that Dana Andrews’ character also knew the fundamentals! A man who can cook! Who knew? (laughing) While I firmly believe in gender roles, I think there are some skills both males and females benefit in knowing.
My daughters might be the primary chefs in their future homes, but it doesn’t hurt for my son to know a thing or two (or more). After all, who knows what a blessing that will be to his future wife? When I got married I knew nothing… my guy did all the work for the first year and then I learned from his mom when having our first-born.
I want my children to know the fundamentals no matter their gender. My girls will know how to pay their bills and manage a budget. The boy will know how to clean his room and cook some meals.
Every time I see this movie (and I see it a lot), it reminds of my own little family. I am encouraged to listen with a caring heart to my children’s dreams and to remain faithful in teaching fundamental skills. Who knows where the future will lead them and how those two little ideas will shape their lives?
Now… off to the kitchen to teach another recipe!