A good many folks know me, but there are few who probably know I love fantasy and science fiction movies and books. I have loved other worlds since I was a young child. It is a temporary way to escape the harshness of real life, and imagine worlds where boundaries have little meaning, and can be defied and demolished with a sword, a thought or a wave of the hand. One of my favorite movies is the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are a good number of folks who downplay this film, but it has many strengths. The plot is centered around Conan’s quest in the riddle of steel and his vengeance against the evil warlord Thulsa Doom who killed his parents as a child. In his quest to find his foe, he is arrested by the men King Osric the Usurper for breaking into a snake temple of Thulsa Doom and stealing a sacred gem. Conan is brought before King Osric as a thief, but the king praises them for being the only ones who ever broke into the temple, and defied the plague religion of Thulsa Doom that consumed his land and people. King Osric goes on to tell Conan about his daughter who fell under the spell of Thulsa Doom, and brings out hundreds of gems, telling Conan he will give him many more if he steals back his daughter from the evil grip of Thulsa Doom.
So, what does any of this matter in terms of being a father? Nothing. It is simply for context. King Osric then finishes with a powerful statement, one which has implications far beyond the film and the story. It is a statement that suddenly meant more to me when I recently watched the movie again while jogging on my treadmill.
“There comes a time, thief, when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a father’s love for his child.” — King Osric
(Video Clip: Conan_A Fathers Love, use a player like RealPlayer or Media Player Classic.**)
After I ran, I thought more about that statement, and realized it really is about a father’s love for his children. This scene likely meant more to me now than in previous years because I am a father, and I am more aware of anything related to fatherhood and children. Although it is not about jewels, gold and throne rooms, there certainly are some applications of this to modern day life.
As time now passes, I watch my children learn to smile, say their first simple words, start to crawl, then walk, and finally run. Each day they all grow a little taller and learn to do a little more than in the previous day. There are many days I feel time passes far to rapidly, and I wish I could freeze it with the wave of my hand to enjoy the moments a little longer. I detest the parts of life that interfere with my ability to enjoy my children’s development. Mostly those parts relate to my job, and while I enjoy the work I do, it is work that keeps me separated from my family. I am lucky I have not been away from them more, but if it were left up to me, I would not spend any time away from them. This is likely true for many fathers who care for their children and enjoy their presence, but spend many hours at work.
These days, after I achieved much in my career, it is less about wealth and success for me. It is more about my love for my children. Less do visions of more money, bigger houses, expensive cars, and other luxuries pull at me as much as my children. Now it is about providing them the best possible life as they grow, not only in terms of food and shelter, but also a loving and nurturing environment in which to develop. Although I know my work is part of what provides the lifestyle and freedom from more harsh conditions of childhood, at times the office seems like my own prison. It is my own throne room that is like a prison that keeps me from my children. At this time it is not something I have much control over, but I can make sure the time I do spend with my children is quality time, and builds memories for them of a happy childhood.
A father’s love for his children will pay dividends in the future. I hope the loving environment in which my children mature will result in them growing up to be stable, happy and loving individuals themselves. As I grow older, I hope the love I expressed to them throughout the years will emanate from them to their own children, my grandchildren. This love for my children will be my greatest legacy.
** The copyrighted material of Universal Studios is used in this blog post under Fair Use provisions of United States copyright law in a tranformative nature, with non-commercial intent, and is restricted in length to the amount needed to make the desired points and impact of the post. By clicking the media links, you agree to not save or distribute the material in a manner that violates your local copyright laws.