April 10, 2010

Sippy Cup Rex

There is a scene in Ridley Scott's Award-winning film Gladiator that has always resonated with me.

Marcus Aurelius and his son, Commodus, are in the emperor's field quarters, celebrating the final Roman victory against the Germanic barbarians.  Commodus, fully expecting to be made emperor upon his father's death, paces the floor, doing his best to contain his nervous excitement.  Marcus Aurelius, however, has other plans for his beloved empire; plans that do not involve having a psychopath at the helm.

The scene progresses, the drama unfolds, the tension builds and Commodus, utterly despaired and confused by his father's decision, says to him, "All I've ever wanted was to live up to you, Caesar.  Father."

The emperor, in turn, responds with, "Commodus.  Your faults as a son are my failures as a father."

I love that quote.  Those words have helped to guide me along this intense journey called fatherhood.  They remind me to push harder, to do better, to lead by example, all in the humble hope that my actions will help make my son into a smarter man, a sincere gentleman, and an overall decent human being.

Of course, the scene does end with Commodus murdering his father.

So I'm also trying really hard to make sure that my last scene plays out a little differently.

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