Parents in Movies

Are they going to be dead or divorced?

Comments (47)

(47) Anonymous, July 13, 2009 2:16 PM

Mrs. Palatnik, It offends me that you say that a family with a deceased mother is not a family. I am 18, and my mother recently died. Yet we are still a family. My parents had a long, 30 year relationship that was mostly happy. And even though I had her for 18 years, my sister 17, and my brother over 30, her impact on us is and was profound. I know that your focus was mainly on divorce, but death of a parent is nothing to laugh about and totally in G-d's hands. I pray that with G-d's help, my sister, father, and I will regroup into a new sort of family. No, it's not the same AT ALL without her, but my beloved imah would not want us to sulk around, fragmented. I don't think my father will remarry, but regardless, I think that we can still become a new sort of beseder - in order, all right.

(46) Haddassah, July 11, 2009 6:24 PM

Truly Blessed

Lori, I would like to tell you, with no small amount of joy and thankfulness, that my parents have been married for nearly 30 years. From their loving example, I can see how God intended things to be. Or, I can see almost how their supposed to be. Their closest friends, and mine as well, are also still married after many years. God has blessed His servants in this case, and I honestly believe that I have learned how to keep it together when its hard. I have also noticed what your children noticed. It IS hard to find a family film! From Disney, I highly recommend "Mulan", in spite of the running gag made on the Chinese beliefs about their ancestors. The whole point of the movie is a daughter trying to honor her father--come what may. Her mother is portrayed as being loving and supportive as well, and even her grandmother is involved! It became an instant favorite for me. They say that when the bards lose it, the rest of the culture will follow. Looking at our modern "bards", I cannot help but agree.

(45) Anonymous, March 1, 2009 9:13 PM

response to "Parents in Movies"

Lori, I look forward to your inspiring and thought provoking discussions. This time however I was left wondering where to take this information to learn and grow in a positive way. Many divorced parents, myself included, lived in a time when we were not connected to Judaism spiritually and now want nothing more than to have Hashem grant us the opportunity to have the chance for a second marriage and live in a Torah loving home. For me, I feel it is the only way forward for my son to see the love and mercy Hashem has for us in the most tangible way possible. To see his Mother rewarded and blessed with a sound happy marriage. This for me is the best way to ensure at the very least, a Torah environment and hands on Jewish education for IY"H my child and grandchildren to come. If Hashem wills it I will try to do this on my own but it would not be the same thing. Make no mistake, many of us who misguidedly ended up with broken marriages know at the deepest level that their children will never be free of the repercussions.I am very aware of the staggering statistics of how many of us fell prey to this sad state of affairs. The problem for me,now in the midlife stage is... shidduchim. It is a crisis for all ages and for me it is no exception. I would love to speak to you more on this subject and hope you are able to email me. I live in Toronto, very near to where you yourself once lived. Thank you for all you do Lori. Your almost live segments are very important to me, it feels as though I am learning how to live a Torah life with a personal acquaintance.

(44) sisi, February 28, 2009 9:24 AM

Lori, have you ever read a book?

This has been a running discussion about children's literature and movies.Lori, pick up Anne of Green Gables (orphan), Oliver Twist (orphan), Lord of the Rings (orphan), Harry Potter (orphan). I could go on and on but the child heroes and heroines of nearly every fairy tale and children's novel is an ORPHAN! Occasionally the parents are missing due to other circumstances. This is a literary tool to "free" the child from the normal constraints of parents and family and is often the reason for their journey or odyssey. IN the end what the heroes of these story are looking for (in addition to learning magic, defeating an enemy etc....) is a family. Harry Potter finds one in his friends/teachers at Hogwarts. Anne Shirley finds one in the Cuthberts. Oliver Twist finds it in a pair of sisters. There is a fantasy element of these children having nothing to lose b/c the most important thing in their lives, their moms and dads, are gone. LORI, Take your kids to a library and read them some classic children's literature. Whether its L.M Montogomery or C.S. Lewis or Lemony Snicket interest them in something other than the Disneyfied world of singing animals. Certainly you can see that Disney is using the same tools writers have use to engage children for centuries, albeit in a less intelligent way. These stories are fantasy and have nothing to do with the current state of todays society yadda yadda. They are the writers way of sending the children on an adventure. Even a child can see that having your parents worrying about you at home lessens the adventure and probably keeps you from going on that adventure in the first place. But if you have nothing to lose then why not? Usually these stories are about the kids going to find their families, or some substitute for the love they are denied. If along the way they need to go to Mordor to extinguish a ring or fall through to the other side of a coat closet into another world then so be it.

(43) Olina, February 27, 2009 5:51 PM

The blessing of a broken home

Lori, I have never really noticed how much children's movies promote/reflect broken family units. It is sad, but I would like to point out that step parents and foster parents can be good role models. It is better for a child to be in a blended, happy family than to live in a home with constant conflict and/or abuse. My mom was brave enough to leave my dad when I was a small child because she didn't want me to grow up thinking physical abuse is normal. I now live in a blended family and love my step dad very much. So please consider all angles of split homes before you label them all as being sad cases or bad examples to children.

(42) Dave, February 27, 2009 9:00 AM

I am now officially depressed!

I am now officially depressed, want to go to sleep and hoping that the next Lorri almost live will give me hope!

(41) Gila, February 26, 2009 10:29 PM

The good side of TV for me- what I wanted I saw on TV!

When I was growing up in the 80's, I watched a lot of TV. My parents were divorced, TV was the natural past-time/reason for not doing homework, and it made me dream of a life with a happy marriage in it: Claire and Cliff Huxtable of the Cosby Show, Family Ties Steven and Elyse Keaton with their love, spontaneity and humor, and tales about devoted husbands from (3 out of 4) of the Golden Girls. I looked at those "happy marriages" and thought, "I want that." I didn't see that so much in the secular world (you seemed lucky if you had a good marriage) and the newer generation was not taking lessons from their parents' successful choices. I saw that Torah taught ways to create what I wanted from guiding me to the right kind of spouse to experiencing the trials and great events of life together, of course with a lot of work and learning. About Disney, one film my husband and I love is "The Icredibles." Although there is the slightest hint to a possible problem in the marriage of Bob and Helen Parr, the misunderstanding is cleared up and their marriage and self-esteem is strengthened by using their G-d given gifts and that was a factor in making a stronger bond between them. As much as TV was a negative influence, even as a child, I was able to sift through the muck and find the good and the truth everyone seeks.

(40) Linda M. Cucher, LPC.,CCH.,MACP, February 26, 2009 5:37 PM

Essential programming for Children....

Hi Lori....Much of our youth has had no appropriate role modeling for what a functional, good, growing marriage looks like. Many don't get it at home. They don't get it at school and they certainly don't get it from popular culture. Until we take this pervasive lack of critical role modeling seriously....and at the very least, design good programing devoted to the question, "What Is A Jewish Marriage?" in early education, we will see even greater numbers of couples who divorce...and not only once, but multiple times. If children had instruction at an early age as to what a functional marital partnership should look like, what to strive for, what the demands of marriage/life/family are and how to develop skills and work on behaviors which nurture a joyful bonding of the ultimate kind, then we would turn a critical corner for the survival of the Jewish, happily intact family. Home is the "ideal" for learning by example how a husband and wife are to treat one another, but in lieu of that, there must be some practical, essential programming! And I have some good ideas on this subject for Yeshivas, seminaries and Jewish day schools. Feel fee to speak with me by consulting your editor and obtaining my email address.

(39) shoshana, February 26, 2009 3:04 PM

okay-but there is another side

I love the videos that you, Lori, tell everyone, and I find them them very meaningful. However, in this case I see another side to the discussion in this video. I see that today we do not have traditional families, and some do not even make a an effort to make a perfect marriage work. However, I do know of situations where a divorce was the best option for the couple, whether fortunately or unfortunately. Some times couples make the wrong decisions and do not realize their mistakes until it is too late. So this video might be a little offensive to those who have gone through a divorce or a parent's death ( Where there was no option). Also, a generation ago it was more uncommon to get divorced,however, that does not mean that there were happier marriages. They were in a time when divorce was looked down upon. So I think you have to take that in to consideration. I am not trying to disagree I am just pointing out another side to this issue.

(38) Sasha King, February 26, 2009 11:02 AM

Movies Reflect Social Reality

I'm a very unusual person. I'm an African-American Jew with two parents. Although both my parents divorced (and my mom brought my sister into their marriage)I have grown up with two loving parents for my nearly 30 years in this world. The older I get, the less I take it for granted. Dating is difficult for me because most young men in the Jewish community don't understand that you shouldn't leave your marriage after the first major hurdle. As a community, we have to address this problem.

(37) EZ in US, February 26, 2009 10:46 AM

Lets not base our lives on TV and Movies..

I was a huge TV and Movie watcher until I noticed it corrupts the way I think. Its true that the media can truly alter a person's view in life and I believe that it usually does - for the negative. People tend to think that dating has to be extremely weird and awkward (like 80s movies) that people need to go on adventures every day of their lives (any kids movie) and that everything works out in the end...happily ever after - without you doing most of the work. It just, you know, worked out. Well life isn't like TV and Movies and you need to work hard and do your best and then usually you'll everything fit together. There won't be magic genies or wizards saving the day and you won't travel across the world but you can still be an adventure hero if you fulfill your purpose in life and stay positive. Best of luck! (PS PG Movies nowadays are almost like R Movies from 25 years ago. Don't get me started on PG-13 movies...)

(36) Channah, February 25, 2009 1:17 PM

Nothing New Under the Sun - Rated G

This "missing parent" theme is nothing new. Seems many films that I saw as a child (and I'm 52 now)had one dead parent, usually the mother. (Disney did this a lot). It wasn't until the Brady Bunch that anyone I can recall on TV had a dead parent...something that never came up again after the first episode, btw. It would seem that a "missing parent" is good for creating dramatic tension or comic relief, mostly if the mother is gone, because dads are "inept." We seem to forget that that is exactly what it is -- a dramatic device. And while divorce is a reality, I see more divorced couples being cooperative and friendly with each other on TV than I do in real life. I once heard a lecture from a "sensitivity counselor" who visited my place of work. He was talking about the images he saw on TV and listed all of what he thought to be family-friendly, positive TV shows (Full House, Step-by-Step, etc.). Nearly all of them had a "missing parent." He criticized shows like "The Addams Family," "Rosanne," and the "Simpsons" as having a negative family view. He then asked the audience if anyone had ever seen a TV show that had an intact, extended family that worked together for a common goal. My hand shot up and he called on me. My answer? "The Addams Family," "Roseanne," and "The Simpsons." All three, while imperfect or "strange," had intact, extended families in which the parents actually loved each other, loved their children, included siblings and parents in their lives, and more often that not, worked together for a common goal. We see what we wish to see. But I'd rather see an intact PG-13 family than a G-rated, sugar-coated one.

(35) JB Destiny, February 25, 2009 12:55 PM

Eternal Theme

I'm sorry, but dead parents or step-families are very common themes in tales for children. Think of Snow White, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Bambi, etc. The point is to focus on the child and how to function in situations without parents, which will eventually be true, whether or not your parents survive into your adulthood. Eventually, the child must cease to be dependent on parents and find ways to live their own lives. I suggest that it may be time for you to move on to movies with different themes, or where the same themes are explored in a more subtle way that is more appropriate to their new level of understanding. BTW- I too grew up in suburban Chicago, but know only a handful of people whose parents divorced, most when their kids were out of the house. Almost all of my friends' parents, and mine too, are still married to the same person after decades. Your husband's comment, and mine too, are what's known as "anecdotal evidence" and therefore not reliable enough to base a general theory on.

(34) linda llewellyn, February 25, 2009 12:54 PM


It is a sad reflection of todays society. When I was having my son I was the only married lady there. I think it is because the nations have turned away from God and living by their own wisdom. and now we are seeing the result.

(33) Ronni, February 25, 2009 12:45 PM

Causes of Divorce

It's very rude to ask someone why they got divorced so I know all these people that are divorced and yet have no clue as to why. Are there any people asking why there are so many divorces? I have been married a long time and I know I have had fifty million excuses for getting a divorce but ultimately I chose to put in the effort even when I was crying my eyes out and there were some very serious issues going on. We both worked on ourselves until we reached the point where we are truly a real couple with a real bond unlike the shaky one we had when we were first married despite the strong feelings we had for each other. Certainly when there is substance abuse or physical abuse going on I understand why a divorce must take place but the numbers don't add up as to why there are so many divorces and unhappy marriages.

(32) Renée, February 25, 2009 11:05 AM

Disney mothers

There is a very strong tradition in Disney movies to feature absent mothers. In some cases we know she is dead or in jail or that she never exiosted, but in other stories there's no explanation as to why the mother is gone. (See: Cinderella, Pinocchio, Snow White, Belle, Nemo, Pinochio, Dumbo, Bambi). I believe there are at least two reasons for this: 1) When Walt first made it big he moved his parents to California to be near him. His mother died when there was a gas leak in their apartment and Walt always blamed himself for her death. His movies reflect the loss he felt for his missing mother. 2) Having only one parental figure can really streamline the writing process. I would also like to point out a couple Disney films with intact parents: 1) In the sequel to "The Little Mermaid", Ariel and Eric's daughter has an intact family (although in the original film Ariel is missing a mother with no explanation as to her whereabouts). 2) In "The Emperor's New Groove" the Emperor's parents are both missing, but his companion Pacha is happily married and the father of three children.

(31) Sarah Hershenson, February 25, 2009 10:11 AM

What happens if....

What happens if one parent dies at a young age. Does it mean he "checked out" because he was an irresponsible parent or was it because HaShem had other plans for his neshamah and his time on Earth was over. I think your equating the tragedy of death to the tragedy of divorce unfair. Perhaps it works that way in the movies, but in real life it is like equating apples with oranges. In both cases it is a terrible loss. However, the death of a parent does not mean he/she left his family arbitrarily.

(30) Anonymous, February 25, 2009 7:13 AM

positive coping with challenges

1. There is a wonderful website where you can check to see if a movie is appropriate for your family. It is . 2. I thank G-d have have been fortanture growing up in a community where I have to think really hard about anyone I know that is divorced. My parents, myself and all of my 8 siblings are Thank G-d happily married. Although in the “real world” divorce is much more prevalent, I get to see dozens of healthy marriages. 3. Lori, I always enjoy your weekly clips! Although I do agree that there are too many instances where divorce is not the final answer, I found this clip to be insensitive to those who have hard the misfortune of getting divorced, many times for an important reason. And I would love to see a follow up video on positively coping with challenges, where mothers, fathers, or children coped with divorce and any other lives challenges in a positively astounding way. These people are even greater role models.

(29) Karen, February 25, 2009 5:31 AM

How about Pres. Obama & Michelle

I really enjoy watching them & appreciate that he is always telling families to turn off the TV & read to their children!

(28) Ronda, February 25, 2009 4:12 AM

I agree with you.

I had just come to the conclusion that not having a proper role model of a good marriage allowed me to enter one which was not in my best interests. Hearing you speak it out loud brought tears to my eyes. If I had taken longer in the courtship, perhaps I wouldn't have proceded. Hindsight is 20-20. Thank G-d, I now have two beautiful kids. I hope that some day I can remarry and show them what a good marriage is like. In the meantime, I can expose them to other role models in the community. As for secular media, we don't always realize the harm that we are causing when we expose our kids to these things. I once showed them a series of family videos. The first one was about a dog that got lost and was adopted by a rabbit family. It was great but the next one that I got wasn't, even though it had a moral to the story. I learned that unless I pre-screen them, I am better not to expose my kids to these types of things. I would like to keep them as innocent as possible for as long as possible. Unfortunately, a lot of the popular culture is quite addictive and we need to set limits on our consumption, whether is it exposure to the Internet, cell phone use or even the popular media such as radio and newspapers. Let's pray that Moschiach comes soon.

(27) Anonymous, February 24, 2009 10:19 PM

Lori, I really liked this video! It's interesting that you say that there are no intact families around anymore because I've always noticed that amongst my parents' friends. I'm lucky enough to have parents that have been married ONCE together for over 25 years but I think just about every one of their friends from high school have been divorced at least once. I always found it so odd. Also, another interesting point is that there are even people who blame that situation on Shidduch dating. The fact that people date for such a short period of time, makes it hard to really know if they can live together forever and they end up not being happy.

(26) sandy, February 24, 2009 10:11 PM


As a divorced mother, I already feel a tremendous sense of failure. I never wanted to be divorced and certainly NEVER wanted to raise my children in a broken home. I had thought that living a torah way of life would keep that from every happening to me. Well, I was wrong. Watching your video only reinforces my sense of failure and sadness. Believe me, I have enough of my own. I think you and your children are picking up on what story-tellers have always done, and that is to pick a 'gimmick' to give a story drama and make a plot exciting. Were there no challenges to a character, where would the story line and plot development go? Why did Dickens write about poor, orphaned children? So there could be challenge in Oliver's life and plot twists. Don't confuse contrived story lines with the true pain of divorce.

(25) Anonymous, February 24, 2009 7:58 PM

Man is in the Forest

Lori, you're on target, but it's not a new phenomena. When I was growing up in the early 60s, I saw Bambi. It was traumatic for me. Mom's dead & dad disappears from the scene. Years later, one of my own children asked me "When are you & Daddy getting divorced?" I was flabbergasted. Where would he get such an idea? So I asked him, and he said, very matter of factly, "Everyone gets divorced." He seemed disappointed that this wasn't going to happen in our house, and that he would be missing out on all of the Nintendos & trips to Disney, etc. that his friends' fathers supplied during their visitation. Anyway, this child got married last June to a wonderful girl from an intact family. Oh, and his parents? We're celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary in two weeks!

(24) Nancy, February 24, 2009 5:23 PM

do not be too hard

maybe the writers do this to give hope to children who are from broken homes. Maybe it's their way of saying "hey, you can still make it". If all we saw were two parent families how hopeless it would seem for children who only have one parent.

(23) Stephen, February 24, 2009 4:41 PM

We now have a model!

You don't have to look too far for a model. President Obama seems to be a wonderful model, though his parents weren't. And though I have no love for him, the former president too had an intact family. I like the Obama model better.

(22) Naomi, February 24, 2009 3:14 PM

A Common Literature Tactic

Lori, you make many good points. I also wondered about "what was up" with all of the missing parents, whether in movies or books. I recently found out that it is basically a way for the author to give the young characters more freedom. In most of these stories the children end up being the hero/heroin. I also don't think all of these stories are trying to show that the young characters are smarter/better, etc. There has been literature like this for a very long time.

(21) shirie, February 24, 2009 2:55 PM

not realistic

Dear Lori: I too, find you contemporary and interesting but you are right. This is the new reality. It think there are many reasons for this and it is not necessarily a sad thing or a negative. Let's change with the times. The new "intact family" takes on many interesting flavors. We need to evolve with the times. I also want to point out that even our beloved Fairy Tales and the Bible always showcased families and incidents with lots of crises, death, sibling rivalty, and violence. We grew up unsheltered and our children should not be overly coddled either.

(20) Berry, February 24, 2009 2:19 PM

It's not so simple, as you know.

I want to throw my 2 cents in here. I'm from a family with both parents still together. My parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year -- how 'bout that, Lori! And I, a product of this home, am now divorced. I would never have believed it would happen to me, but it did. There are simply no guarantees nor any formulas. What I'd like to add to these comments is this: when I first found myself on my own as a single mother, I worried very much about my daughter missing out on role models for a happily married couple. But you know what? I immediately turned my focus toward the areas I *could* be a positive role model for her. I've talked to her about life not always going exactly as we want, about making the best of a situation -- basically that while we cannot always chose the situations we find ourselves in, we can choose how we will handle ourselves and deal with whatever it is life throws at us. Not always easy, but isn't that really the bottom line, in terms of a child learning to successfully handle life. I've also noticed that some of my daughter's friends have that "perfect" family equation, and none of them are as intelligent, capable, sweet, funny, and pleasant to be around as my daughter is. In fact, some are downright obnoxious, and they've "got it all." Lori, I respect your perspective on the issue, but as someone else mentioned, you got lucky. Nice husband, healthy kids. Not everybody gets handed the same package. And as I teach my daughter, it's what you do with the package you get that determines who we are and how successful our lives are.

(19) ruth housman, February 24, 2009 2:07 PM

parting words

Hi, I just watched a Disney movie last night and it was sweet and heart- rending, with nothing to do with divorce, and the man involved who was married very much loved his wife and son, Eric. But he had to learn a pivotal lesson in love that did not have to do with his wife and child. It's a movie about animals and love of dogs, in this case, sled dogs in the Antarctic, called Eight Below. I wish would spend some time, any time, on the "environment" meaning not just families, together and apart, but what constitutes love and I am saying this doesn't have that much to do with being part of a split or not being part of a split. It's in how we treat our children and ourselves. And, by the way, the environment of love should include how we treat ourselves, our partners, and the environment that is out there, meaning the rocks, the trees, the flowers, the birds... Perhaps there is more divorce these days, because there is a reality principle that says, if you try hard and it's not working, it might be better all around, however painful, to divorce. I happen to be in a long-lived, beautiful marriage and I do know many, who are. As a therapist, I have seen mergers that simply, don't work and some that are pure gold. It's so hard to generalize, and yes, we are living in a different time, and I too, feel there are some old values about making it work, worth resuscitating, meaning relationships take energy and a good measure of love and tolerance for growth and diversity. Of course the movies reflect the times we are in. Also, a storyteller does know that obstacles create the path. Conflict so often leads to transformative change and this is the substance of story making. Maybe we're all part of a vast story, and the learning curve, is entirely about LOVE. We are gifting each other and taking out of what we teach each other about love, something of value and there is value in considering the feeling in this lovely piece.

(18) natalie, February 24, 2009 1:20 PM

Disney deaths = parents today?

Lori, Personally, I've only seen one Disney children's film with divorced parents, and that was a remake. Cars? The Pinnochio? Cinderella is a story turned into a film, as is The Little Mermaid. I can name many more, but that's not my point. When a company wants to appeal to an audience, they place someone the audience would admire in a situation (such as how young pretty models are placed in make-up advertisments). To appeal to a younger audience Disney has to put the focus on the children - normally this means getting the parents out of the way, or not even mentioning them in the first place. What other storyline could stir up a childs emotions and remain suitable for the child to watch? Also, in these films, where the parents are mentioned at least the child sees the loving bond between the characters - and isn't that at least a good sign? Nevertheless good video, and I agree with most points, but personally, the film connection is too abstract.

(17) Anonymous, February 24, 2009 12:23 PM

This isn't new

I watched Disney movies growing up ( I am now in my 50's) and read the Grimm Fairy Tales to my kids. In the early movies (Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty) there wasn't a parent figure unless it was an evil step-mother and in some other movies ( Bambi) there was an absentee parent after the death of the mother. There have been theories about this, that Walt Disney's mother died when she was young, etc. and that the Grimm Fairy tales were allegories for other things. This isn't a new phenonmenon. Some good G and PG movies? Honey, I shrunk the kids, Beethoven I and II, show intact families are humorous and not cartoons!

(16) Haim Levy, February 24, 2009 10:56 AM


As a rabbi of a community I deal with marriages and the video of Lori was superbly inspiring and especially meaningful for the job,thank you very much.

(15) chavie, February 24, 2009 9:28 AM

Lori, I love listening to you, but I think you're off the mark here. I acknowledge your children's perception but this issue is too complex for a brief video. First, I find it insensitive to include the death of parents to divorce. When I grew up, one friend lost a father. Raising my kids, unfortunately I accompanied them to many shiva calls for parents. Second, Hollywood has it's own agenda and bringing an example from there isn't really valid. They need to create drama and make profits. If anything, your example shows how even a G movie is undesirable for children. Think about it. Something is registering in a child's mind that divorce is a valid option, (even if his parents are intact,) and life goes on. The endings aren't horror films. Please don't get me wrong. I have let my kids watch videos. I'm not from the holier than thou group, but I do believe you should reevaluate this message. In summation, please don't compare death to divorce and think about what other message the video is giving children. I enjoy your blog always and you have given me many inspiring moments. Thank you for you work on behalf of the Klal. And a Freilichen Purim!

(14) Simon, February 24, 2009 9:06 AM

He said Keep them one as we are one and protect them.

One and likely the greatest mistake that man has made besides separating himself from God voluntarily is separating himself from himself and then from themselves. It seemed a domino effect that man fell from God then from his wife and hence from his kids and lastly from each other, disunity. If there is anything that should have a bigger budget than defense it is anything that helps families stay together for the sake of our unity and nation and ourselves. I remember when l was a little boy it was imperative that a man sticks to his wife and for a greedy or childless or boy less man two or three but the family integrity was protected by the community. Somehow the community away from civilization new its welfare was dictated by a healthy and functioning family. That way communities survived in oneness and unity and strength. Today with our knowledge we have failed to discover the most important thing to use our technology to rescue --the family. Where there is a will there is a way and with God everything is possible including bringing that which is dead to life, the present marriage. Lori thanks for pointing this out the discussion and remendy to be are timely.

(13) Michael Metrick, February 24, 2009 9:03 AM

Easy way out for writers

It seems to be a recurring theme in children's literature, an easy devise for creating conflict in a "coming-of-age" story. It forces the character to grow beyond what he/she would have been otherwise. How many of us would watch a movie about normal, everyday people with no problems or conflicts? Its why we see only bad news on the newscasts, good news is boring, or at least that's what the producers think. But Disney goes one step further: Dads are often portrayed as useless, nonexistant, or just plain irrelevant, viz.: Snow White (dead mom) Cinderella (both parents dead) The Little Mermaid (no mom) Beauty and the Beast (no mom, useless dad) Aladdin (no mom, useless dad) Pocohantas (no mom) Finding Nemo (dead mom) name a few. Mulan is an exception to the rule, depicting loving parents devoted to their family and their culture. The father, however, is disabled, unable to fulfill his duty, giving Mulan a reason to come of age. Another different type of weak father figure. Hmmm, what is Disney trying to tell us?

(12) Anonymous, February 24, 2009 8:38 AM

Reality is Disney = no mom but Father = better parent

My husband and I noticed this phenomena years ago! I'm surprised it took this long for someone to notice that disney and WB and other film makers always either kill off the mother in the first 10 minutes of the cartoon, or the child never had a mother, or has a wicked step-mother,etc. I think Disney must have hated his own mother and perpetually lived this out in his cartoons for kids! Sick, huh? PS: I'm a step-mom and my kids adore me. Their bio-mom abandoned them. They consider me their real mom. Bio-moms aren't always great. In our society, we vilify bio-dads and bio-moms get custody of kids just because she bore them. Guess what? A huge % of divorce is due to craziness of bio-mom. They perpetrate emotional and spiritual blackmail and abuse on their children, and alienate them from their fathers who love them very much. Just because parents don't get along doesn't mean father doesn't love & adore his children, and many times is the best parent!!

(11) Raisy, February 23, 2009 9:56 PM

movie scheme

While it is true that intact families are sadly becoming rarer, I think there's something else about modern movie-making especially those for or about kids--and Disney is particularly culpable: they try to get the parents out of the way so we get to see how clever, resourceful, etc. the kid is--(also it arouses our sympathy) that's what makes the movie interesting! An educator pointed out that much of American literature from Roald Dahl--where the parents are always somewhat insipid--especially compared to their intelligent offspring to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys usually outperforming their parents and their are dozens of examples--think Berenstain Bears where goofy Papa acts more childish than his kids. This is a country all about youth.

(10) Anonymous, February 22, 2009 9:18 PM


Your children are very intuitive, Lori. I never thought of movies in that regard before. I suppose it would explain the high divorce/cohabitating rate of today's families. Perhaps the screen writers of the movies feel that the best way to create drama and angst for a child is to make them without an intact home? That would make sense, but it's still sad that most movies are portrayed in that regard.

(9) Anonymous, February 22, 2009 9:05 PM

to role models schmole models has many articles on marriage, parenting etc. I think Lori is just trying to point out what today's world is like with this specific topic. It's not a good situation. Yes, for some divorce is the only way. But, I think that people do not have the same values of what marriage is today then they did years ago. That is sad. You said...I think you need to come down a few notches & not make so many judgement calls!! Aren't you making a judgement call right there? Don't get mad at Lori. She is a very wise, understanding, a caring woman. You can't expect her to give tips on how to have a happy marriage in a 2 minute video. I agree, putting on lipstick is not always the answer. You need to find out what works for you and your husband. Perhaps consulting a Rav or better yet a Rebbetzin would be a wise decision for you to make. or just someone you feel comfortable talking with. A good friend can give good advice too. It's obvious that this is a sensitive subject for you. Rightfully so. Your points are all valid. But to take it out on her is simply not right. I wish you much hatzlacha with everything.

(8) Tzippy, February 22, 2009 5:31 PM

The only reason they do this is because positive doesn't sell movies or news anymore.

The only reason they write this way is because doesn't sell moives or stories anymore It is really sad we have become our own worst enemies. What s shame and by the way Lori thank you for all your inspiring thoughts. Thank you for your chizuk to Klall Yisroel and May Hashem bless you in every way.

(7) Tova Orzel, February 22, 2009 1:55 PM

I would like to comment not on the topic at hand but some other very important point in this connection. I feel amongst many others that to let children see videos, even kosher ones, is absolutely not advisable. It is only a step before they will choose to see also unadvisable videos or dvds. This is only an advice to parents who want the good of their children.

(6) Anonymous, February 22, 2009 11:11 AM

why do parents even allow movie to enter the house childrren are so inoccent and specail they get effected ny everything why would someone bring the SICKNESSS of the wrold in thier home?

(5) Anonymous, February 22, 2009 8:32 AM

Big Differences Here.

However, there is a very big difference between children who no longer have their birth parent(s) because one or both have died versus those who don't live with both parents because of a divorce. 4% of American children lose a parent to death before they have grown up. Some are very blessed to have their parent remarry and be part of a "blended family." In my case both of my parents (dad and stepmom)had children with their first spouse. Both of my parents fought endlessly to keep their first spouse alive. Both of my parents lost their spouse to Cancer. They married one another and while our family has issues as well as ups and downs, I am VERY blessed to have 1 mother who birthed me and another who raised me therefore making me part of a blended family with role models for marriage.

(4) Marie, February 22, 2009 8:14 AM

So true...

I remember telling my daughter before her wedding day that BOTH her parents and his were still together, and how unheard of that is lately. Marriage has become much too disposable.

(3) Moshe Rosen, February 22, 2009 6:14 AM

why love doesn't conquer all

The reason why love doesn't conquer and overcome all is because of chemistry and infatuation which ends up being blind love, whereas love and marriage is not the finish line to a mutual, wholesome relationship and family. It's a matter of sticking together among common, shared values. As Doron Kornbluth said regarding his book "Why Marry Jewish?", the reason why people fall out of love was because the Beatles were wrong, contrary to their hit song, "All You Need is Love".

(2) Anonymous, February 22, 2009 4:55 AM

role models....schmole models

Instead of stating the problem......why not give helpful tips on staying married. And putting on fresh lipstick be4 Daddy comes home doesn''t always work. You, thank G-d, have a happy marrige....but others don''t....& believe me it starts out gr8 & then....who knows why, when *or* how..things just go south!!! Nobody wants it to go in that direction. I think it has to do a bit with mazel.......why is it that she has the gr8 husband....who doesn''t get angry...but my husband does act out & gets angry......why is it that that husband can make a living....& mine can''t & boy, does that lead to a shaky Lori (it seems) have a gr8 is not a real issue...good kids...ETC......but alot of us don''t have it so good!!!! And divorce is the only solution. And please don''t think it is an easy way out.....wrong!!! But sometimes it''s the only way out. Don''t you have friends that are divorced...I do & some of them don''t even have a real place to call home!!! They came from the 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath center hall colonial & now they live in somebody''s basement apt. You are very condiscending to those of us who are divorced *or* from divorced homes!!!! I actually know someone from a "good" home....2 real parents....& guess what , she herself got divorced!!!! She had the role models. G-d forbid...but what if one of your kids got divorced.... no one is immune!!! So, instead of stating the problem....let''s find solutions *or* ways to deal with it!! A blended family can be a very happy one!!! I think you need to come down a few notches & not make so many judgement calls!!! You make it seem since you don''t have a TV, that you are so much better....I have a TV, albeit, I know how & when to use the "off" button. I bet you grew up with a TV & you turned out pretty grounded!!! Maybe you should only be renting movies about animals , ocean life, *or* how volcanos erupt.
Yes, this is our world''s a dark world we live''s so unfortunate & sad.....hopefully Mashiach is right around the corner......

(1) Tzippy, February 22, 2009 3:41 AM

Thank you Lori you inspire my day very often. I am very proud to say that in our family meaning all my sisters and brothers and all their children are with the same parents.


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