Your Kids Are Not Keeping Score

Two weeks before the show Severance was scheduled to premiere, Ben Stiller’s visual-effects team was supposed to meet to finalize effects edits so Stiller could lock the episodes. It was an important meeting. Things were coming down to the wire. But on the morning of the meeting, Stiller’s son got hurt playing nerf basketball. Stiller canceled the VFX meeting to take his son to the doctor. When he was later asked about it, Stiller said,

“What I’ve learned is that your kids are not keeping score on your career. They just want a parent who’s emotionally present and supportive of them. That’s probably what they want more than for me to be going off and pushing the bounds of my creativity.”

You say you’re doing it for your kids. You say you work as much as you do, for them. You say you make the sacrifices you make, for them. You say you are trying to accomplish what you are trying to accomplish, for them—so that they’ll be proud of you, of who they come from.

But as we’ve said, your kids’ actual wants and needs are so much more modest. They don’t want or need parents who are celebrated. Or who are the best at what they do. Or who make a lot of money. Or who are never home because they are pushing the bounds of their creativity.

All they want or need is for you to be around. For you to be supportive. For you to be there when they fall, when they screw up, when they hurt themselves. When they need to go to the doctor, they want you to be there with them and for them.

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