Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Generation Gap: Comics In The Family

     Books were always emphasized in my house growing up. Reading was as important as air and water to my family. From an early age my parents we're reading to me, and I always had a book with me wherever I went, all throughout my life. Some of my fondest childhood memories are reading books at night with my parents before bed. As a five year old, I remember laying down with my father to read an illustrated version of Treasure Island and the words we read sprang to life in my imagination, and the bond between a father and a son grew and thrived. Childhood moments like this cemented my love of books that would last my entire life. Now that I'm a father, I often think about how to instill a love for books into my children.
     I have a slightly non-traditional household. My wife and I have a two-year-old son who is a gamma burst of energy. He hardly ever stops running, playing, talking, destroying. We also have an 18 year old daughter who we have been raising since the age of 14. She is technically my wife's sister; my sister-in-law, whom we have custody of. The way I relate to my kids obviously varies greatly with this age difference between them. In the last couple of years I have actually shared and built a bond with my daughter over comics in ways we didn't have before. She reads The Walking Dead, and some graphic novels, and now we have discussions about what we've read. In the past we didn't have much in common when it came to entertainment, comics have brought us closer together. 
     My daughter and I have shared the pain, the joy, and the journey of these characters we both enjoy now. It's built an emotional bridge that had become strained over the years as she has moved from adolescence into a fledgling adult, yearning to find her individuality. My son on the other hand, is just getting to that age where reading books and sharing stories is a reality. With him I think about what I will read with him, be it comics, novels, etc, that will cement that family bond between us for the rest of our lives. I have been building a list of the things I loved as a kid and when I should share them with him.
     All of these thoughts have lead me to consider, and appreciate the importance that comics have played in my life, and how I want them to play in my children's life. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the medium of comics has so much power over us. Comics have the power to inspire, to heal, to bond people together. It's important to recognize this power and use it to make your life better. For me, my family is the most important thing in my life. My love of comics only helps to bring us together, and hopefully keep us connected in the future.