|The movie starts with shots of the hands of a shoe repairman repairing a very worn set of rose-pink shoes.
It proceeds to the little grocery stand where 9-year-old Ali puts the sack holding the shoes down outside while he goes in to pick out some potatoes. A man comes by to collect garbage and picks up the sack of shoes at the same time. The shoes, the only ones owned by Ali’s little sister Zahra, are gone.
|Children of Heaven|
The movie is all about the way the two children deal with the loss of the shoes without telling any adult — not their parents who can’t afford new shoes, not their teachers when they show up late for school, not the athletic director at Ali’s school when Ali wins first prize in a long-distance race and has trouble holding back tears because he really wanted to win the third prize, a pair of tennis shoes.
For pictures of these two beautiful children, I refer you to the picture gallery at the official movie site.
I found myself in a funny spot while I watched this movie. I so wanted the adults to understand and take this trouble away from the children. Yet I could see that dealing with it on their own made both of them grow — in physical strength, in resourcefulness, and in love for each other.
That’s what trouble does — when people come through it well. But of course, they don’t always do so.
So there’s the perpetual tension for parents between protecting their children from trouble that might crush their spirits and leaving them open to grow strength by dealing with trouble on their own. That’s if we get asked, which these parents were not.
Note to parents: Eleanor Chin is writing a 3-part series on ways parents can help their children develop authentic independence. Start with Don’t Push the River: Autonomy and Healthy Development.