Filmwell’s Michael Leary: Things I Learned About Parenting Daughters From “Gilmore Girls”

ggirlsMy longtime friend, colleague, and Filmwell co-founder Michael Leary, a writer I admire, a man of impeccable taste in cinema, and — above all — a big-hearted father, has something to say about Gilmore Girls.

The whole series is now streaming on Netflix. I won’t hesitate to admit that I’m watching it again…

…and not just because my favorite songwriter, Sam Phillips, does the music. How did television get me to make time for a comedy about a mother, a daughter, and boy problems?

Writing.

I know quite a few students of cinema who are also professing Gilmore Girls fans (not to mention some who were big fans of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s short-lived follow-up show Bunheads). So Leary’s enthusiasm doesn’t surprise me.

What did catch me by surprise was this Facebook post from him — something any parent should appreciate.

Things I Learned About Parenting Daughters From Gilmore Girls:

1. There is a big difference between being a parent and a friend, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. In fact, Bella is clearly one of my very best friends of all time and that gift of friendship is sustaining, life-giving, and worthy of indulgence

2. It is important for her to see me work hard. She needs to see vocation in action.

3. As a parent, I sacrifice much to make sure she is safe and has the space to flourish. This includes relationships, some personal goals, and/or “time to myself.” I’ll catch up on all that stuff later.

4. I should be honest enough with her about her shortcomings that she doesn’t get stuck with the mediocrity bred by special snowflake syndrome.

5. It is okay to talk to your daughter like an adult.

6. It is not a trivial thing to have a lot of shared favorite TV shows, old movies, pop songs, and inside jokes. This is very serious business.

7. It is okay to let her make mistakes. Just make sure those aren’t life altering mistakes. It is also okay to parent on the basis of your past mistakes – and tell her so when decent or applicable.

8. Involve your parents in the raising of your children when the prospect is not overly annoying.


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