This was going to be a teachable moment. I just knew it.
I had the cute idea of taking my teenage daughter to see The Ultimate Gift. The Ultimate Gift is a wonderful movie that tells the story of a wayward young man of privilege who gets an unusual provision in his billionaire grandfather's will. It stars former Rockford Files star James Garner as the deceased grandfather and handsome Drew Fuller as the shallow young playboy. According to the will, the grandson must pass a series of "tests" to earn the mysterious "Ultimate Gift." Each test serves to develop a different virtue in his life such as the "Gift of Work," the "Gift of Friendship," the "Gift of Laughter," and so on. At first the young man chaffs under the rigors of each test but he does it to earn what he assumes is a generous gift of money. In fact, the tests end up changing him from the inside out, developing his character. I won't ruin the story but let's just say that a large part of the Ultimate Gift is what he gains in the process. It's a wonderful story that encourages hard work, loyalty, generosity, perseverance, character, friendship, learning, the joy of living, and much more. It's a refreshingly different message in an age of image, shallowness and materialism. It was just the thing to spur those wonderful father/daughter moments where we talk about the deep things of life and values, when dreams are transmitted from one generation to another.
I breathed steadily as we headed out of the theatre ready to be profound, to harvest those inspiring life lessons that were sure to come of it. "You know, " began my thoughtful daughter, "it's really too bad ..." This was it. My chance to really hear her heart, to see what dreams had been born in her.
"You know, it's really too bad I didn't come to see this movie with my friends," she said. Yes, this is good, I thought. She wants to be a catalyst for change in her generation, a role model, a leader of her peers, an influencer. "You know, it's really too bad I didn't come to see this movie with my friends ... because then we could get together and talk about how cute Drew Fuller is!"
It was a teachable moment indeed. That evening I was the one who learned an important lesson. I learned what the real ultimate gift is. There are a lucky few who have it. James Garner used to have it. Drew Fuller definitely has it now. I never really had it. How about you? Is some teenager talking to his/her friends about you?