never take sides against the family…ever

Let me try to explain the difference between intent and impact as it pertains to parenting.

vitoVito Andolini came to America and became Vito “Don” Corleone. He was a husband, and a business owner on the outside; and a thief, mob boss, and murderer on the inside. If you follow the story from the beginning; which would require you seeing Godfather 2 as well as 1, you will see that Vito was very concerned for his family and their well being. The things that he did, in most cases, had a positive affect on his family (in his eyes). He appeared to be honorable and upstanding as measured by his provisions. The only problem is that most of them were acquired illegally.

Vito was also a dad.

sonnyFirst there was Sonny. Sonny was hot tempered, for whatever reason. (He saw his dad kill someone.) I would go as far to say that he was uncontrollably angry. Uncontrollable to everyone but his father; but his father was too busy looking over the family business to help correct his behavior. Sonny was the air apparent to the empire that Vito created. The family legacy was to be carried on by the oldest son in the family. It’s an Italian thing.

fredoThen there was Fredo. Fredo was clumsy, uncoordinated and could not be classified as confident. He paled in comparison to his brothers and was in need of reassurance. The type of reassurance that comes from a father. Vito could have taught his middle son to be more confident and assertive, but he was to busy trying to maintain the lifestyle that they all had grown accustom to.

 (For you movie buffs, I am not including comments about Connie or Tom for the sake of Blog length. If you are a fan of either, I’m sorry.)

michaelFinally there was Michael. The youngest son was the furthest from the family business. He was handsome, successful (to date), had a good woman, and a bright future. He served our great country in the military and had a strong understanding of honor and respect.

So what happened?

Vito’s life decisions came with a huge price. Sonny was shot dead due to the retaliation of an opposing family; Fredo ran off to goof around with Moe Green, exposed his family, and was killed via an order from his baby brother; Michael eventually lost his wife (Kate was a smart gal), children, and his sanity. Setting himself up to be forever alone in the hell his father created and left behind for him.

Back to intent vs. impact.

Vito wanted the best for himself and his family; but his family only needed the best of HIM. Vito tried to get respect by what he conquered through fear; instead of earning it through compassion. He measured himself by what he controlled; as opposed to what he was ultimately responsible for. Vito just wanted to provide, but his children just wanted his approval.

the corleone familySo what about our families?

What are we teaching our kids? What do they think is important in life? How do they measure themselves? Are we so busy “taking care of business”, that we are giving our family “the business”? What are your intentions for your family legacy? How is it impacting them today?

What about tommorrow?


6 Responses to never take sides against the family…ever

  1. Robert says:

    The long standing question remains ‘why am I here” what is the purpose behind this or that? Why why why….My answer comes down to simply this “it’s about contrast”. So, lets take my experience as someones son, in it’s entirety, what heroic virtue will I use so that I dont become him, or that guy, or how can I prevent what happened to me from happening to my son. The answer is “contrast”! Victor Frankle’s book “Man Search for Meaning” would be a great start, he had asked what makes a prisoner of war (Nazi Germany’s concentration camp) give up, smoke his last cigarette? The answer was more about purpose and goals then anything else! It was also about contrast. You cant know light without knowing darkness, you cant know pure love without knowing pure or some type of evil, there would be nothing to compare it too. So are you a follower or a leader? Are you going to do unto others as you want done or not? The answer for me is I remember growing up watching fathers play with their kids and my Dad was gone, working, playing etc. That’s my contrast that is what I teach my son, look at what is being done to you, make a choice(free will) and do unto, as you see fit!

  2. Charles Arcario says:

    i love it.

    we can’t stop bad stuff from going down. heck, we can’t even slow it down. we can, however, prepare ourselves and our loved ones.

    i also allow my children to be exposed to these “contrasts” (in a protected environment) to help to show them that there is a decision to make and how to decide what to do.

    it is easy to blame our current situations on our past…

    or we can choose to shape our futures.

    robert, thank you for taking the time to comment!

  3. His Girl says:

    LOl Charles. What is it with men and the Godfather? Somehow you all pull life lessons from it. This is amazing and so true. As a single parent I wonder about my choices and the lessons I teach my children on a daily basis. What will they learn from me today and yes, what about tomorrow?

  4. Anita Marie says:

    I read this book when I was a kid – and because of the way I was raised…you know with a sense of justice and fairness…I was really glad to see the Godfather’s Family get it in the end.

    I still am.

    I hate bullies.

  5. Hawk says:

    Thanks for the great read here Charlie. Good stuff as always and much for us to contemplate and consider how it is we function in our day-to-day interactions with our kids.

  6. Pepe Arenas says:

    I’m just wondering if this is the same Charlie Arcario who used to be an altar boy at St. Boniface Church in the 80’s. If so, I haven’t seen or heard from you in a long time, and figured I’d just say hey.

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