Let’s Talk: Family Secrets

I got to talking to my girls, as I like to do throughout the day. (We also complain about the people we work with but that’s another story entirely.) One day, we started a conversation about Disney channel movies we watched as kids. Oh, the nostalgia. Such a simpler time, but let’s get back to why we’re here. It’s hard to say where to start with this conversation but I guess I’ll start with the Disney channel movie.

We were talking about Luck of the Irish, a movie surrounding a young man who possesses a lucky coin that ultimately gets stolen by a longtime family rival. He goes on a journey to get his family’s luck, which is in that coin. Now, that’s the short of it, but I must tell you that our main character, Kyle, did not know that his lucky coin was part of his family’s legacy. You see, Kyle is Irish and that lucky coin is the key to allowing his family to appear as normal humans and not leprechauns. Kyle, who is 15, only learned of his heritage from his grandfather and because he started to ask questions for Heritage Day. His mother warned his grandfather not to tell them who they really were. She didn’t even tell her husband!

Ok, so let me add another film before I start to piece this together. Halloweentown is the epitome of classic Disney Channel nostalgia. Marnie turns 13, and at 13, in her family, she gets her powers. But if you asked Marnie, or Sophie for that matter, they would have no idea what you were talking about. They had no idea why their grandma could only visit on Halloween. It was just their norm, and they questioned it, but their mom would never allow them to know. And, again, she told her mom not to tell the kids about their family secret.

Now, this may be because my grandma passed recently or maybe the conversation got my wheels turning, but why is this and has seeing this on TV added to us ignoring our own pasts? Growing up, I sat under my grandma and watched her play her numbers, talk on the phone, play cards, etc. To my knowledge, my mom never once told her to not divulge some family secret. I knew tough stories like how my great aunt may have overdosed and been left to die, my dad in prison, and stories of people in the family who I never got to meet. So, what was Disney’s motive behind giving us so many stories that dealt with a mom or dad keeping the story of the family from their kids, and in turn, keeping the grandparents out?

Now, you might say this just lent itself to a better story. Adding to the mystery of the family or the people around the main character, but omitting that for us as an audience is fun. Omitting that for the character is a problem.

So I ask why? I don’t have a solid answer to this question I have posed, but I do want to hear your thoughts on this matter, and do remember when you discovered something about your family? Did it happen in true Disney Channel fashion or nah?

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