Perhaps it is just me, but I seem to be a little (more than usually) morbid at the start of the year. On Saturday I went to see the movie “A Monster Calls”. This seemed to coincide with my reaction to the lengthy list of people that died in 2016 and the natural sense of turning a new leaf with the start of a new year… a time to get a little more organised, better prepared for what may lie ahead.
The movie relates the tale of a young boy who lives with his mother and it becomes apparent that she has cancer. The movie itself is visually beautiful, fusing art, film and masterful story-telling. It captures the painful struggle of a young boy called Conor who, like many children is living with the hope of recovery and the reality of uncertainty. He escapes into the invisible world of monsters which merely highlights the tension of his real world where he is largely invisible, with nobody noticing his struggle other than those most alert to vulnerability – the bully.
Complexity lurking in the shadows
There are some delightful lines and insights and it is a film that has continued to gnaw at the corners of my mind. Whilst in many respects this might be promoted as a children’s story, it has far more to offer adults and those caring for or working with children with insights and reminders about just how vital our communication with children really is. Indeed, the tales within the story remind us that we are all rather more complex that “good” or “bad” perhaps this awakening normally comes in childhood, but certainly is a timely reminder as we survey a complex world with some notable players, who invariably appear monstrous.
The monsters we don’t call for
We all have monsters that we fear may come calling, one of the more obvious ones is the monster called Cancer. You may have seen some poignant TV adverts entitled “Cancer is happening right now” and of course for those of you that have experienced such visits or are currently doing so, there is a very real sense of an alternative universe, drawing family and friends into an epic, often weary struggle for survival and many will relate to the fourth tale offered up to the monster.
The limitations of financial comfort
Of course, in the financial planning world there are policies designed to provide financial assistance. Nobody is under any illusion that these will cure, heal or even soothe the pain of a serious or critical illness. They “merely” enable focus to be kept on relationships, care and hopefully successful treatment, rather than anxiety about cost, albeit purely the financial one. This is not a pleasant subject. It is the nightmare that I hope you never must endure, but the sad reality is that we cannot control our nightmares, we can respond to them and make allowances, whilst attempting to understand and have greater empathy for those that have, are and will.
I can thoroughly recommend the movie, but it comes with a warning, not a child-like story, but there are many children like this (and many grown-ups that feel the same way). Here is the trailer.
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