13 parenting tips from 'The Hunger Games'

By Ryan Jardine

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 20 2013 12:02 p.m. MST

From left, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" at Nokia Theatre LA Live on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press

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On Nov. 22, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" debuts in theaters across the county.

This movie, based on the stories of Suzanne Collins, is not steeped in frivolity. In the arena, it is life and death, and I take it exceptionally seriously, as should you.

Every day I wear my Mockingjay pin on the lapel of my suit with pride, and I conclude each and every conversation with an austere, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

Stories such as "The Hunger Games," resonate because, as Mary Bateson observed, “The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.”

Metaphors and life lessons abound in "The Hunger Games."

With that in mind, here are 13 parenting tips from the first "Hunger Games" to get you ready for the premiere.

1. When the family is hungry, especially on a road trip, watch out. Hunger-induced stress can plunge any family into chaos, especially when traveling America’s highways and byways. Think upon "The Hunger Games." The shortage of food and supplies saps the strength of the Tributes as they travel within the Gamemaker’s wilderness.

Family travels that open with songs and happy-family-forever-togetherness instantaneously morph into your own version of the "Hunger Games" when bellies start to rumble. Parents, heed this warning and make sure everyone is well fed, especially on a trip.

2. Support your children's interest in cake decorating — because it might just save their lives. Who knows how your children’s intensifying interest in some niche activity will contribute to their future success. Take a moment and consider crazy-like-a-fox Peeta Mellark and his superior cake-decorating skills. Such a benign interest saved his life as it transformed into the ability to craft superior camouflage. With each sunrise, your children will vacillate among different interests. As you maintain malleable expectations regarding your children’s hobbies and interests, they will gravitate toward certain activities. Encourage them to pursue those interests because they may instinctively know better than you what skills they will need.

3. Don’t underestimate the importance of well-manicured facial hair. We are currently in the wilds of Movember, and hair of all varieties has appeared on typically clean-shaven faces. Take a cue from Head Gamemaker, Seneca Crane. If you sport a beard or mustachio, consider shaving it into some kind of design. Your teenagers will love it, and you will be the most popular of parents. Don’t be disconcerted if they insist you drop them off a block away from school — they don’t want other kids' parents to be jealous.

4. Everyone needs a good fashion consultant and well-tailored clothing. Parents are an example to children in so many ways, and might I suggest that includes health and personal style. Cinna, one of Katniss Everdeen's closest friends and allies, was also her stylist. He leveraged her innate couture and revealed to all of Panem her real worth and identity. Parents, prioritize your personal style, health and wellness. Take pride in looking put-together and embrace styles and clothing that are both cool and age-appropriate. Show your kids that at any age, your appearance is an outward demonstration of an inward confidence and self-respect.

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