As I a guy who doesn’t know anything about cars or building stuff, or even computers, or how to really fix anything, or sports (golf included), or politics, or business (investments and stock market crap), there aren’t seemingly many important roles left for me as a man in a family.
Sure, I can tell you which actors from Saved by the Bell are Jewish and which songs were hits in 1983 and how tall Albert Einstein was and I can solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than five minutes every time, but how does that fill any kind of necessary void in family dynamics?
I am a walking Wikipedia with an unforgettable memory of life events, sometimes nearing borderline Asperger’s. So by default, what is my role in my family of six? And to see the full picture, what are the roles of each member of my family? (My parents, my sister, her husband, and my wife.)
Me: The storyteller, the writer, the historian, and the event planner. What drives me are memories. Good memories take place because of events. So I enjoy planning the family’s activities.
I tend to be the one in the family that decides what we will do with our time when we’re all together. And if I didn’t have an agenda for everyone to follow, it’s possible we would all just sit around and do nothing. It’s possible we wouldn’t know where to go to eat, and end up settling for something mediocre like Outback or Chili’s.
But I take the responsibility on myself for the six of us to decide where those memories (including potential funny stories and inside jokes) will take place. And because “life happens” around food and entertainment and going to new places, my niche is being the one to set the backdrop for those events.
My role doesn’t fall into any of the typical manly stereotypes; I am the Montgomery Moose, the Desmond Hume, the John Cusack, the Pat Sajak. The host, the MC of the evening, the narrator, the journalist of past, present, and future. I just can’t fix anything.
My wife: The organized one, the teacher, the nurturer, the listener.
My dad: The mechanic, the electrician, the carpenter.
My mom: The financial expert, the chef, the encourager, the conversationalist.
My sister: The interior decorator, the helper, the initiator.
Her husband: The computer whiz, the tech expert, the sports enthusiast.
Not that anyone can limit the talents and capabilities of their own family members down to just a few roles. Because family members are not just stereotypes or TV characters. They’re family.
What brought all this to mind is by watching the wonderfully crafted sitcom/drama Parenthood. I love the dynamics of the family and how they all interact. It hit me that the members of my family all have specific roles like the characters on that show. And also, it seems the entertainment world is oversaturated with superheroes.
I just wanted to know what my “superpowers” are. Now I know.
(And in case you’re still curious, Screech and Jessie were played Jewish actors, on the show Saved by the Bell.)
Would you, the random or regular reader, be willing to share with me your role and your family members’ roles in your family by leaving a comment below? This isn’t a clever marketing ploy to boost my numbers or make this post seem more interesting. I am just truly interested in this topic and want to know what other random family roles are out there.