Life Lessons from The Avengers

Last night I went to see the new Avengers movie "The Age of Ultron." I admit it—I'm like a kid when it comes to action movies with super-heroes. Perhaps it comes from actually reading the comics about these same heroes back in the Sixties. It's one of those rare shared activities, movie watching that is, that my grown kids enjoy, so we get to have family time with them by going to a movie now and then.

But as I watch movies, I'm always alert to any values training or ethics implications of the characters and their decisions. I found two really intriguing scenarios in this movie, and I want to talk about them in this post.

First, there was a romantic interest between the character of Natalia Romanov (Black Widow) and Bruce Banner (the Hulk). Particularly interesting to me was the obvious problem that held them back from pursuing their relationship.

Banner was properly afraid of having children together, given his 'instability'—He turns into a raging green monster when emotions get the best of him. (Hard to imagine how he'd handle stepping on a lego in the middle of the night.) Natalia was quick to point out that she too had issues, not the least of which that she was sterilized as a youth, as part of her preparation to be a professional assassin.

Their fertility problem pointed out to me that life is more than child-bearing and parenting. While this blog, and my passion, deal with parenting issues first, all human life has value, and childless couples still have a reason for living. In fact, it's an important parenting principle to show your children that you have a life and mission that even transcends your important work as a parent.

Somehow, when our kids know that their parents are not just put on earth to serve them, it's easier for the kids to see that they are not the center of the universe. Mom and Dad have a role to play in the universe, and someday, your child will grow up to play a part in that world. Point your children to their reason for being on this planet.

So The Hulk and The Black Widow had to realize the value of their mission in life, and it wasn't all about the children they would or wouldn't have.

The other cool theme in the movie occurred when the Hawkeye character went home to be with his pregnant wife and two young kids. Apparently, even super-heroes have to change diapers and figure out which bedroom to re-decorate next.

It was refreshing that the movie, in the middle of the action, reminded us that families are the bedrock of society, and worth saving. The Hawkeye character had to sacrifice his own safety to protect not only his own family, but other moms and kids as well.

As we drove home from the movie, I complained to my wife that the movie had so much action, that these two relationship themes didn't get much time or attention. So it just goes to show, you can't make me happy. I went for the action, and I got it. But the relationship scenes made the movie worth the price for me. Can't wait for the next Avengers movie to come out. I wonder what parenting tips I can get from Captain America?