The film itself is a cute adventure story about Max the dog and how he copes with a major trial that comes into his life in the form of a monstrous dog named Duke. The adversities that come our way are very often out of our control. The film teaches children that change will come, that things cannot stay the same forever, but that does not mean that change has to be horrific or even scary. This point is taught over and over throughout the adventure. At one point, Max learns that owners (people we care deeply about and let’s face it, this was written for little children so we can assume that the owners represent parents in a way) die or leave or abandon their pets through Duke’s personal experience.
The take away from the film was that we can have hope for the ever-changing future, that it will be okay, good, and even happy.
That’s all good and fine, but one thing that I took away from the film was a line said by Pops: “Oh great, you’re in love, how gross for everyone.”
Not only is it funny, it sums up how I feel about the closing scene of the film, the pan out from the apartment building where every apartment has the silhouette of owners loving on their pets when they come home.
Now, I liked the film, and I have a pet myself (who just like Max and Duke, consequently spends more time at the neighbour’s than she does at home), but I want to make a general observation.
Where are all of the children here? The final scene has very few children in it. Granted, there are a few, but most of the owners are without children. I know, I get it. Animals fill a very important role in our lives as bringers of comfort and companionship, but they are also a crutch that stands in place of very important human relationships.
In saying this, I mean no disrespect to individuals who do not have children because of circumstances beyond their control. My heart goes out to you, and only you know the sorrow that comes constantly from that. Instead, what I am talking about is the cultural trend to not want children because of the overwhelming sacrifice that parents make in order to raise a child or children. It is these people who are truly deserving of our pity, and because of their choices, they will never know why.
Dallin H. Oaks once said in concern for this generation while giving a talk to members of my faith,
A familiar example of losing ourselves in the service of others—this one not unique to Latter-day Saints—is the sacrifice parents make for their children. Mothers suffer pain and loss of personal priorities and comforts to bear and rear each child. Fathers adjust their lives and priorities to support a family. The gap between those who are and those who are not willing to do this is widening in today’s world. One of our family members recently overheard a young couple on an airline flight explaining that they chose to have a dog instead of children. “Dogs are less trouble,” they declared. “Dogs don’t talk back, and we never have to ground them.” Read the Talk
Although the efforts to train a dog can be infuriating, that couple had it right, you don’t have to worry about your dogs. They are not even your species. You are not even biologically keyed to sacrifice for them.
I am not trying to roast people who for some reason or another do not want to raise children. What I am saying is that nothing has given me more purpose in my life.
When I first married Sarah, I thought that we had it made. We were there together, playing “House.” We rose up the economic ladder a few rungs, and seven years later and after the initial attempts to adopt a child, Sarah and I conceived, and Jesse was born. In those moments, my purpose as a man became complete (do not confuse that with the word fulfilled). I am learning at a higher university in my own home than I could possibly at any major university in the world of men. I will be a father and a dad for life. As you well know the rest is history.
I complain a lot about the humorous things that my children do a lot on this blog, but I will have you know, there is nothing so important in my life than God and Sarah and my children. They complete me. I live for them.
To those who may have been offended, I am aware of your right to make your own choices and in no way seek to take them from you. You even have the right to not read my blog ever again (you have my permission, I’m okay with that.) But one thing before you leave, there is so much more to be had in life. So much good that could be done in helping to form a child’s life. There is so much to learn about yourself that you could not have known otherwise through the sacrifice of time and self. If you don’t want your own children, become actively involved in the life of another’s child. Help me and others influence the lives of children for good. You will reach a level of happiness that you have not heretofore experienced. Take the challenge. Change the current sentiment in our culture about wanting children!