Friday, October 26, 2012

31 Days of Repetitive Parenting: Day 26 "Never give away the ending!"

Just this morning, as we were driving to school, I had to remind Bud of another of our family phrases, "Never give away the ending!"

He was telling about a dream of his, but in order to have the greatest impact on his listeners he felt the need to give away the entire plot line to a book he had been reading.  Despite, my reminder he continued to reveal the twist.  Oh well, none of us will be reading that book now.  The whole point of a suspense thriller is to keep ya guessing, which is kind of hard to do when you know how it ends!

Hubby has really enforced this particular rule in our household, because he especially wants to have the full experience of whatever story it may be.  Pretty much the same reason I prefer to watch the movie before reading the book (I just don't want the book to ruin my movie going experience!)

In either case, we both prefer to read a book, see a movie or hear a story without knowing the ending.  We are frustrated if we happen to see a preview for a movie that basically gives away the entire plot.  We stop reading if an article has "SPOILER ALERT!" emblazoned in the text.  Truly, we don't want to spoil the experience of a good story.

We have tried to teach our kids this philosophy of not giving away the punch lines to jokes or reading the last page of a book.  We expect them to not talk about a movie in front of people who have yet to see it.

Alas, we all have slipped up at times and ruined the experience for someone else.

Just recently, the king of "Never give away the ending!" ruined it for me.  I was diligently working on a blog post, while Darlin' was watching Dancing With The Stars in the other room.  I had asked her to keep the volume down, so I would not hear which star was about to leave - I wanted to watch it on the DVR with no commercial interruptions.  Of course, in the silence, as I typed away, I could hear Hubby, who happened to be sitting in the same room as the TV (obviously not purposefully watching!) yell, "Oh, no, Joey Fatone!"

I hung my head, sighed and yelled sarcastically, "Thanks a lot!"  He felt bad, because he is usually quite a stickler for not ruining the ending.  So much so, that last year I had to beg him to tell me all about the Hunger Games.  Due to what I knew of the plot, I was convinced that there could not possibly be any redeeming value to such a dystopian book.  I wanted him to tell me the story, so I knew what our kids were getting into when reading this series.  He and I both knew that I would never read the books or see the movies, so eventually he relented and told me the whole, sordid story (SPOILER ALERT: minus any graphic details about kids killing kids.)  Granted, I'm still not convinced there is any redeeming value...but I digress.

We use this quote as a simple reminder to our kids to be thoughtful of others and appreciate the art behind a great story.  For instance, when they each had to read Agatha Christie's, Murder on the Orient Express, we let them guess throughout the entire book, but we never told them if they were right or wrong.  They had a great time detailing the reasons they chose a particular suspect and were obviously quite surprised by the ending.  We would have ruined a wonderful learning experience and the chance for them to exercise their Sherlock Holmes skills of deduction had we not kept the ending a secret.

Helping our children enjoy the discovery of a story has been very important to us.  Just as a good story is worthy of retelling, so is repeating, "Never give away the ending!"

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