Thursday, 17 July 2014

Is Everything Awesome?

The Lego Movie is in heavy rotation in our house at the moment. For those of you who haven't had the joy of seeing it a billion times, or even once (and let me assure you, once is quite enough), I'll fill you in.

The movie centres around the Lego city of Bricksburg, which is ruled by President Business. There, we meet a Lego man (naturally), a happy construction worker named Emmet.  He begins narrating the story, informing us that, in Bricksburg - you guessed it - Everything Is Awesome!

The Lego citizens of Bricksburg only need one book entitled:

How To Always Fit, Have Everyone Like You And Always Be Happy! 

This book tells everyone in five simple steps how to achieve what the title promises. They are:

Step One


Step Two


Step Three

Shower and wear clothes.

Step Four

Enjoy popular songs like Everything Is Awesome and watch hit television shows like Where Are My Pants?

Step Five

Always obey President Business's instructions or you'll be put to sleep.

It is at this point, barely into the movie, that I find my teeth grating and am ready to call bullshit. I'm probably missing the point or something. 

There is probably a pivotal scene where Emmet realises that President Business is corrupting everyone into believing that everything is awesome. I'm not sure, I've never been able to sit through the whole movie.

At the very least, I'm definitely over-thinking what is meant to be a light-hearted, fun movie for kids. But still, bare with me, I think I have a point, and it's this:

Is this the greatest message to give to children? That you should ALWAYS fit in, ALWAYS be happy and have everyone like you? Is it possible for EVERYTHING to be awesome, ALL THE TIME?

After all, on a daily basis I certainly manage to achieve at least four out of five of those steps listed above and I'm certain that not everyone likes me. I know, hard to believe, isn't it? Go figure.

Breathe. Check. I do it without thinking.

Shower and wear clothes. Check. Okay, sometimes I skip a shower, but only if I'm staying home and not subjecting my stinky self to anyone. I often wear clothes, albeit unfashionable ones, but clothes nevertheless.

Exercise. Check.

Enjoy popular songs and hit television shows. Check. 

The fact that, a) they were popular songs 40 years ago; and, b) I watch Offspring while doing a fair amount of eye-rolling, so I'm not sure if I'm technically enjoying it; are completely irrelevant.

I do all of this, but is everything awesome and I am liked, do I fit in and ALWAYS feel happy? No.

As I said, I'm probably reading too much into this and need to get out more. I just can't help thinking that if, as a teen, I'd come to the revolutionary realisation that: you don't need to be liked by everyone, nor do you need to like everyone; this would have saved me a fair amount of angst.

In fact, the above statement has become some words to live by. Along with the following statements:

You wouldn't worry about what others thought of you if you knew how seldom they did. (Thank you, Dr Phil).

My mental health has to be more important than what somebody may think of me. (Thank you, Bronwyn Fox, author of Power Over Panic). 

Furthermore, I'm attempting to teach my boys that it's okay to not be happy all the time. As a parent, it's all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you just want your kids to be happy. Yes, ideally this is my preference too. But, realistically, happiness is just one of a range of emotions that we all experience over our lifetime.

Sometimes I'm happy. Other times I'm sad, frustrated, anxious, bored, furious, bewildered, amused, irritable, and every other emotion you can think of. And this can be all in the space of half an hour at certain times of the month.

"I'm not happy," Mr 5 will wail, as we trudge home from school. Or he'll sigh and say in pitiful tones: "I'm saaad."

"That's okay," I respond "nobody is happy all the time. You'll be happy again later."

Yep, I'm a mean Mum. Please note: this particular sadness is usually related to me having said a firm no to his requests to buy him a lolly at the shop on the way home, so I know he'll get over it. If I thought he was persistently sad all the time, I wouldn't be quite so dismissive.

He's also suffered from the same phenomenon that his brother had. Fear of Conan The Librarian. Every week, when Tuesday rolled around and it was Library day at school, he didn't want to go. Apparently the Teacher/Librarian is a tad scary. It seems that she raises her voice a lot. This may have been frightening to my boys as I am very softly spoken and they're probably not used to it. 

My first instinct was charge up to the school and demand that Conan The Librarian STOP petrifying my precious boy. But I didn't. I just explained to Mr 5 that some people have loud voices and that his teacher has told me what a good boy he is in class, so he has no need to fear her raising her voice at him. He seems to have slowly gotten over this fear now. 

Meanwhile, Mr 10 is not as enamoured with soccer as his brothers are. We are still encouraging him to finish the season and next year he can choose something else. He's not really into sport, like me. However, Mick and I both feel it's good for him to be outside getting exercise and mixing with other kids, instead of online or on a PlayStation all the time. In this way, I'm attempting to show him that he can be out of his comfort zone for a while and still be okay.

Sometimes I think I'm not setting the greatest example with this. I feel like I haven't challenged myself or pushed myself out of my comfort zone enough. Then I realise I'm a quiet, shy, introverted Aspie who became a mother to three boys and lives with the all the chaos, questions, noise, sibling rivalry and cuddles that go with the job description. Yep, I'm definitely out of my comfort zone. Thank God for those cuddles. Those cuddles make up for all the rest. 

I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing or not in forcing my boys out of their comfort zone a bit. Maybe I'm wrong. But, unfortunately, life isn't always happy and comfortable all the time.

So I guess a silly little Lego Movie where Everything Is Awesome for an hour or two probably isn't a bad thing for my boys. As long as we balance it a bit with other things. 

The only other remaining question is: How do I get that damn song out of my head? Somebody make it stooooop! 

Linking up with Emma from Five Degrees Of Chaos for The Lounge. 

            Do you think children should be happy ALL the time?

                              What are your words to live by?


  1. It sounds to me like you are doing an amazing job with you boys ! I think the best thing we can teach our children is that life is not always lolly pops and roses - there are tough times, there are times that are difficult and uncomfortable BUT if you don't help them to deal with these situations, who will ????
    Love the new look of your blog !!
    Have the best day !
    Me xox

    1. Yes it's really one of the hardest things to do as a parent.Thanks for the kind words and wishes. Hope life is treating you well. xo

  2. I found the message in The Lego Movie a bit hard to swallow too - I get what they were trying to say but it wasn't very well executed. But I'm possibly biased as I'm a terrible non-conformist ;)

    1. I'm glad I wasn't the only one. Being a non-conformist is probably a good thing - at least you question things. It may prove challenging if any of your girls share this trait! xo

  3. Perhaps not everybody like you Ness but more people like you than what you realise. :-)

    1. Nawww...thanks Brenda. Anyway, it's their loss if they don't. So ner! xo

  4. I haven't seen it I must admit, but the song is annoying on its own. I guess 'everything is awesome' is just another version of the many, many 'happily ever after' kids' stories. Nothing wrong with giving kids a bit of happy but life certainly is not ALWAYS going to be awesome. Sounds like you're doing a great job with the balancing act.

    1. The song is torture. I guess I always liked 'happily ever after' endings as a child. And I still love to escape into books, music and the internet. Shame we can't do that all the time. Ahem. Thanks Lara. xo

  5. I think it's an excellent thing to encourage children to try things slightly out of their comfort zone from time to time. It can help build confidence and they may well find that things aren't as scary as they thought they would be. I wasn't a fan of many of the things my children enjoyed watching when they were young, the one that really springs to mind is Barney the big purple dinosaur with the happy smiley children who were always SO good with shiny, swishy hair and the moral to every story, irritated the hell out of me BUT, I don't think that a bit of escapism into a world that is always safe and happy is necessarily a bad thing and I think as adults we may read far more into it than they do. It's all just a question of balance.

    1. Oh yes, thankfully we were spared Barney. Yes, escapism can be good from time to time. In fact, I still like to indulge in it. Ahem. xo

  6. What a beautiful mother you are. I wish I could say I was softly spoken. I'd love to have you as a friend, Ness. There are some deep insightful thoughts you've gleaned from this Lego movie. I love that quote from Dr Phil. I'm going to print it out and stick it on my bathroom mirror x

  7. I'd love to have you as a friend too, Pinky. We can definitely be imaginary (online) friends. I must be doing something right. My boys received good reports, with the younger two have awards for Excellent Behaviour and Attitude again (not sure why this doesn't always happen at home?). I figured that I was just over-thinking the movie so I'm glad my point came across. I love some of Dr Phil's sayings. Thanks Pinky. xo

  8. Ahh yes, if only I knew those things as a teen too. I love Dr Phil. He knows his stuff. We haven't watched the Lego Movie in this household and I don't know if we will, although I have to say I'm now very curious about the everything is awesome theme.

  9. I love that Dr Phil quote - It's great (he's a bit of a nutter but usually so spot on) Now you've given me an earworm of the song...

  10. I haven't seen the movie either but I think this post is excellent. You've hit the mark. One thing I've done with my kids from a very young age is remind them how lucky they are. My daughter is still quite young but my son in particular, is a pretty humble kid who appreciates the little things. Great post Ness!

  11. The did eventually get around to saying not everything is awesome, but it too a while. I think it's good that you are telling your boys that it's ok to not be happy, because I think resilience is more important than happiness. I do worry that as each generation grows up, there is more and more 'you can do absolutely anything' and it just sets our kids up for disappointment because they reality is that they can't. I think it's more important to celebrate the things that they can do.