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Yes Day, now streaming on Netflix, is a family comedy that runs counter to Hollywood’s typical portrayal of the roles of parents and children.
Allison Torres (Jennifer Garner) once lived by “yes,” neither too busy nor too afraid to pass up the adventures life offered daily. She and husband Carlos (Edgar Ramírez) then said yes to one of the greatest adventures of all, children. But with those three children came something Allison hadn’t ever lived by: “NO.”
As many a child’s second if not first learned word, “no” teaches both physical and moral boundaries. But, used too often and without explanation, it can also stifle and frustrate children.
That’s how the Torres children come to feel about their stay-at-home mom. Allison isn’t a helicopter parent. She’s a loving, busy, and tired mom whose daily mission is to make sure her children grow up in a safe, secure, healthy home. Amid the daily parenting grind, she often forgets to enjoy her children’s personalities and imaginations.
Then a school coach suggests a “yes” day: It’s a day when Allison and Carlos will banish “no” and say “yes” to everything their children want to do—with some ground rules. The kids have to earn their day of fun by completing homework and chores, and they can’t plan on illegal or dangerous activities. But that doesn’t preclude wacky activities, like throwing lemonade-filled balloons or driving through a car wash, windows down.
When the “yes” day finally arrives, the Torres family embarks on an adventure of relearning how to enjoy and relate to each other. Some of those adventures in this PG-rated film include mildly inappropriate bathroom humor and language, roughhousing, and some shirtless male models.
But Yes Day holds some valuable lessons for families. It inspires parents raising children in a busy, often scary world to approach their parenting with a lighter touch, to remember to laugh and have fun. Sometimes “no” is simply a way to avoid inconvenience or fear. For parents who just want to be friends with their kids, the film reminds them children crave authority, too.
The too-often sassy and disrespectful Torres children also learn a few lessons. They realize the truth of the Bible’s admonishment to “honor your father and mother ... that it may go well with you.” The world is a not-so-cool place without loving, authoritative, and, yes, sometimes “lame” parents.
If parents choose to watch Yes Day with children, they may want to set some ground rules of their own. My advice: Don’t watch the movie with your kids if you don’t plan on offering them some form of a “yes” day, whether a “yes” hour or a whole day planned together. I don’t have children, but I can only imagine the guilt trips afterward if there’s no application of the “yes” day concept.
And it’s a good idea to remind children that your family “yes” day won’t be—indeed, shouldn’t be—as zany as the Torres family’s. But you can still find ways to say yes to making memories together.