Return to Communications Center

The Hidden Meanings in Kids’ Movies | Colin Stokes

Colin Stokes is raising two kids with his wife in Brookline. But he grew up picturing himself living out of a suitcase performing Shakespeare. “I had not really visualized myself as a father,” he said. “It’s only recently that I’ve accepted that family life isn’t a detour — it’s a destination.”

Colin was performing in a long-running off-Broadway show when his daughter was born. “I was singing and telling jokes for the delegates of the 2004 Republican Convention. There was such an intense conversation going on about values and the direction of the country. But as an actor my job was to distract from that. It dawned on me that there was more I could contribute.”

Fatherhood then showed him how little he knew. “My wife had childhood dreams that included being a mom, but my dreams had been pretty narcissistic — the brooding genius, making art by himself. I literally had to take a class in how to hold an infant.”Leaving Broadway behind, the family moved to Brookline. Colin found a new career in non-profit marketing and launched into fatherhood, a role that continues to challenge his curiosity.

Colin’s TEDxBeaconStreet talk connects his passion for movies and popular storytelling with his personal journey as a dad. “I spent a few years learning all I could about raising a girl, and then my second child was a boy. I had to confront some deep questions. What did I believe about gender? Why did I play with G.I. Joe instead of dolls? Why are there so few girl characters in kids’ adventure movies? And what are our sons and daughters learning or failing to learn from these movies?”

Read more about the talk on Colin’s blog.

Here’s a drawing our friends from Ideas Take Shape made on the spot while Colin was doing his talk.