This week, my son came home with a D on his math test. I told him to raise his grades, look to the A's. The Oakland A's.
We had just seen Moneyball which shows Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane solving his real-life word problem: if Billy has X to spend on player salaries but the other teams have 10X to spend; how does Billy afford a winning team? Beane wasn't satisfied to keep approaching the problem the same way, so he created a new method of assessing a player's value by creating an innovative mathematic formula to analyze their statistics.
I challenged my kid to mimic Beane and find an innovative way to study which would result in success on tests. In other words, when my kid had trouble in school, I told him to find the answer by watching a movie.
I know movies are just entertainment, nothing more. But, Moneyball got me thinking. Since films usually end with a moral or a message, perhaps movies are really a parent's secret weapon.
So, in celebration of Billy Beane – who gives parents an answer to the question, "Why do I have to learn this when I'm never going to use it?" – here are five movies that double as parenting tools:
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer: Without TV, the computer or video games, kids just seem to be "bored." Judy Moody shows what an imagination is and just how much fun using it can be.
An Education: Teens crave the freedom and imagined glamour that comes with being older but lack the wisdom and life experience to make solid decisions. Parental advice is ranked only higher than the hobo asking for a buck. An Education demonstrates the importance of getting a proper one and the pitfalls of learning too much about life too early. Moms, you won't have to say a word.
(500) Days of Summer: Oh, the drama of teenage heartbreak! A broken heart is never more painful than the first time it's cracked. (500) Days of Summer shines a light on the fact that breakups happen for a reason and eventually, both people will love again.
Toy Story: Sibling rivalry is a story as old as the Bible. If only Cain and Abel could've seen Toy Story. Woody is the older responsible child, Buzz Lightyear is the younger kid who gets all the attention. When Woody tries to compete with Buzz, both their lives unravel. When they get past their differences and work together, Woody and Buzz are happier and so are their friends.
Enemy of the State: Will Smith's action flick drives home that cameras are everywhere so don't do anything shady because you're being watched. Enemy of the State came out in 1998, so what does that mean now? Ask Scarlett Johannson.
What about you? Have you ever used a movie to communicate a point to your child?
To read what kids think about Moneyball and other movies, go to www.KidsPickFlicks.com.