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Families are wonderful. Families are challenging. I am reminded of this every time I see my favorite Cosby Show episode in which Cliff, the father played by Bill Cosby, and Theo, the son played by Malcolm Jamal-Warner, have a chat about Theo’s desire to live like a “regular” person rather than “special” person like his dad who is a doctor or his mom who is an attorney.


Cliff is concerned about Theo’s grades and his lack of motivation and progress. What does Theo want to be? He wants to be a “regular” person like a truck driver. But that’s not the issue for Cliff; it is Theo’s lack of commitment that is the problem.


So dad takes $1200 in play money, an agreed to amount for a truck driver’s monthly earnings, and begins to help Theo understand what it takes to live. First are the taxes, because as Cliff says, “the IRS comes for the regular people first.” Then the discussion begins over rent (“You’re not living here, I’ll live in New Jersey”), then transportation (“A car will cost you “X”, “I’ll drive a motorcycle,” “you’ll wear a helmet.”). Then it goes on to food, (“I’ll eat peanut butter and jelly”), and clothes (“I want to look good”). All during this conversation, the play money goes back and forth between hands until Theo is left with $100 and dad finally asks, “Are you going to have a girl friend?’ “Of course! “ is Theo’s reply. At which time, Cliff takes the last remaining $100 dollars from Theo’s hand. Not only are families wonderful and challenging, families are also necessary.

Jim Kane

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