A developing child should be cared for and nurtured well in the early stages of life. The movie “I Am Sam” depicts a typical case of whether a mentally disabled parent should have custody of a child. Like any other child, Lucy needs to be in a loving environment that tends to her every need, and it is up to her guardians to understand what those needs are. Sam’s mental capacity does not exceed that of an eight-year-old, where once Lucy surpasses that age, she will essentially take on the role of the “parent”. Although Sam may have won custody of Lucy in the movie, one cannot say the movie accurately portrays the constant parental actions Sam performed by himself or during emergencies. Lucy’s future can be jeopardized if her development is held back by her father. In a real setting, Sam should not have custody of Lucy, because he is too dependant on outside sources; not capable of providing the proper care a non-disabled parent would; and will be putting her future at risk of its full potential.
Sam is too dependant on outside sources. When parents need help, they often turn to people who are wiser and understand the situation. Sam’s circle of friends is mostly mentally disabled as well, and cannot provide efficient care for Lucy. They make things worse rather than better because they too do not understand the proper needs of Lucy. Not only is Sam reliant on outside sources, but he also may not always choose the best source for advice. However, better sources for advice may not always be there to help. Lucy’s godmother will not be around to constantly help Sam whenever he needs it. He is very dependant on her for information about parenthood, although, if something were to happen to her, Sam would be alone with many questions but very few answers. Although a child needs the care of more than one person, Sam relies too heavily on his neighbours, friends and social workers. With the mental abilities of a seven-year-old, Sam needs the help of social workers to dictate what Lucy should do.
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This shows how he lacks parental instincts, which is one of the most important aspects of being a parent. As a single parent, Lucy is dependant on Sam for everything from food to exercise; however, he must learn and remember how to provide proper amounts for his daughter. Sam must learn how to provide for Lucy on his own, and not rely on others to determine how Lucy lives. In this case, being a good parent does not rely on the amount of love for the child, but rather the needs a parent can properly tend to. Sam has an unlimited amount of love for Lucy; however, he cannot provide an adequate environment for her beyond the age of eight. Lucy would most likely not have the proper stimulation for her age once she grows older. She will need to read more difficult books and challenge herself to grow mentally. As times change Sam will not be able to provide the proper books, because he may choose a book that is appealing to him, which is also appealing to a seven-year-old.
Also, he may not be aware of the other forms of mental stimulation besides books. Foster-care parents will be able to understand and properly tend to the needs of Lucy according to her age. Not only is Lucy in need of mental stimulation in accordance with her age, but Sam also needs to understand what to do in case of emergencies. If Lucy collapses, Sam must learn how to dial 911 and provide the appropriate information requested by the operator. He cannot rely on calling the neighbours, because a minute can determine whether Lucy lives or dies. One of the ways to prevent Lucy from being involved in emergencies is to avoid dangerous situations altogether. As a parent, Sam must recognize the rules and restrictions Lucy has to live by and make sure she is always in control. In the movie, Lucy was able to deceive Sam into believing the social worker let him take her to the park.
This shows he often cannot question his daughter, letting Lucy the opportunity to run rampant without proper adult supervision. Sam will not be able to comprehend the needs of a child, and thus unable to tend to them like how a non-mentally disabled parent should. Lucy needs to understand she has a right to have an equal future like any other child in the world. Sam is unacceptable of change, and Lucy needs to experience life beyond the weekly events Sam has organized. When they decided to dine at a new restaurant instead of I-Hop, Sam experiences a fit. His unwillingness to change will prevent Lucy from experiencing new situations. As Lucy grows older, she will want to enjoy new events, but Sam is reluctant to provide her with these opportunities. While these opportunities are lost, Lucy must also cope with an emotional weight brought upon her in a world of discrimination.
Most of the human population will not understand a mentally disabled person, and thus are prone to prejudice. Lucy did not want people to judge her the same way they judged her father, forcing her to tell her friends she was adopted. Lucy will most likely hear harsh words against the mentally disabled throughout her life, and the emotional burden will make it harder for her to live life normally. Also, the burden of having to raise her father once she surpasses his mental abilities will further force her to live in very different situations than other children. Lucy will have too much responsibility for her age, which can make her feel as if she’s losing the supposedly carefree days of her childhood. Lucy’s future relies heavily on how she develops and Sam may be holding her back with his condition. She has a right to grow as a child, and become her own person regardless of her father’s circumstances.
Lucy is at a very vulnerable age in life, and the actions that involve her can affect her for the rest of her life. Sam is struggling to sustain himself, and for him to take care of another life with his budget as a Starbucks waiter is unfair for the child. He cannot provide everything that Lucy needs and in order to let Lucy have a normal childhood, she needs to live in an environment where all her needs are tended to. Foster care parents are far better than Sam in terms of giving Lucy a home where her requirements are fulfilled because they have the common sense to figure out what she needs and how to provide them. Love is intangible and cannot provide basic necessities such as shelter or food. The movie may have manipulated its audience into believing that all you need is love, but in reality, love is never really enough.