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Ask Emerson Interactive Moment Conversation Starters Online with... Spotlight Archive

table of contentsFebruary 2002

Dear Friend,

Like many, I use the movies as a way to take a break from life for a few hours. When sitting in a dark theatre holding a sack full of popcorn, whatever worries I may have that week vanish. Usually, I don't expect to be exhilarated by the movies, just entertained. Until now.

I am Sam is exhilarating. In it, Sean Penn plays Sam Dawson, a man with mental retardation fighting to retain custody of his seven-year old daughter. Michelle Pfeiffer plays his attorney, Rita Harrison.

At first, most people will assume that Sam's low IQ precludes him from being a good parent. This movie proves that assumption wrong. Sam is a success at parenting because he loves his daughter, and cares for her to the absolute best of his ability. Does Sam need help from others to care for her? Yes - just as Rita needs support from others to maintain her life. In contrast to Sam, Rita has the trappings of success - a high IQ, a large home, expensive clothes, an important job, and a fancy car - but she fails at parenting.

What this movie tells us is that spirit matters. How we care for those near us is the most important measure of our success.

I am Sam teaches that. I hope you will see it, too.

Best,
Lisa Derx
e-Buddies Director

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