Today as I was spending time with my family and we watched the movie "Barnyard." It is an animated and funny movie with a classic good vs. evil plot. At a deeper level it is a father, son relationship that unfolds with most of life's anticipated twists and turns. It is a great movie for anyone that has ever been a dad or a kid.
In one scene Ben, the father, balls out the son for being irresponsible and careless after surfing (with an ice block tied to the bottom of the surfboard) with his friends outside the barnyard fence. Ben talks of his adoption of Otis years before; the day the "stars danced in the sky." Ben, like most parents I am sure, is really asking the question many parents ask, how did this child get to where he is, and what is my part in it? After the lecture Otis, the son, takes a stab at maturity by actually showing up for his night-watch hoping that his father will let him attend the Barn Boys party. After a little schmoozing from Otis, and a heartfelt dissertation on strong men, dad gives in an lets him go. It is the last time they'll see each other.
What I found interesting was my kids reaction to the film. The scene depicting Ben's death at the hands of the evil coyotes, takes place while and an eerie rendition of "I Won't Back Down" plays in the background. It was very sad for them. At first you feel badly for the character and then you look at your own life. Otis, he is like all of us, looking for things that are fun and avoiding responsibility. His dad passes away and he is forced to grow up and face the evil coyotes. His father's spirit encourages him at every step. I don't think it was an accident that Ben is really a god-like figure in the movie. I think it has many layers of meaning and I saw that with my kids.