What makes an ideal family?

When we think of an "ideal" family, we don't think about street children. But family life is what I found a movie causing me to think about when I watched Salaam Bombay, a film that follows a street child and his companions through the gritty details of their daily lives. The film actually included children who lived on the streets and struggled each day to provide for their meager existence.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the film was that it was shot from the child's point of view. The filmmaker had the most empathetic ability to see the world through the child's eyes. As a result the film was compelling, often sad, but when I left the theater I didn't leave with the heavy heart I thought I might.

The film had gone far beyond the usual responses of entertainment. While my childhood hadn't been like the harsh experiences of the children in this film, I recognized that the film had reminded me how I could see things from a child's point of view. The feeling of understanding and mutual interest was remarkable in how it could bring together an adult—me—living in a Western world and children who in so many ways were living a very different experience.

Meetings for youth of all faiths
April 1, 1991

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