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What Moana’s Parents Taught Me About Being a Dad

Moana’s father lost his best friend to the sea, so he warned his daughter: “No one goes beyond the reef.” In Coco, Miguel’s great-great grandma was abandoned by her guitar-playing husband — and so music was forever banned from her home.

In my own home, the danger was horses. My dad’s compulsive gambling put our family into a perpetual state of poverty. He particularly loved betting on horse-racing. My mom was so traumatized by it that anything having to do with horses was forbidden. If I was surfing the channels and happened to pause on show with a horse, my mom would shout, “Turn that crap off,” even if it was Mr. Ed.

Most parents do not aim to be overprotective, but our best intentions are often defeated by our instincts and our fears. We tend to focus on the risks we know best — though not necessarily the most realistic ones. This “availability bias” is the human tendency to think that familiar problems are more common than they are, and parents often fall prey to the fallacy that our past — even an ancestral past — dictates our destiny. Continue reading What Moana’s Parents Taught Me About Being a Dad