Episode 4 of the new hit NBC show Growing Up Fisher was all about testing a fathers trust of his teenage daughter, oh and did I say the father is blind? I would say its pretty typical for a father in this situation to be overprotective but few people know a blind/VI father takes on this situation.
1. Mel's Comments Regarding Teenagers: After his daughter was found at a "game night" party where the cops came and busted the event, Mel argues with Joyce and makes hilarious comments one after another. First, as they approach the party scene and Joyce explains why she trusts daughter Katie, Mel states, "Come on Joyce, the only thing I know about game night with teenagers is that the last round always ends with a pee stick." Later, once Katie is picked up and brought home for a sit down talk, Mel states, "Look even if you didn't drink, your brain is basically rink on hormones so the best thing for you to do is be locked in your room until over than eighteen." Mel follows that up with, "and don't try to sneak the mouthwash out and take it to your next party and make mouthwash margaritas." Lastly, he turns back to Joyce, who was defending Katie and says, "if we don't deal with this now the next game night will be at our place and you'll probably be the one making margaritas and dancing in the kitchen." This last comment was probably the most accurate out of all of them.
2. The Stereotyped Asian Family: In a classic stereotype of asian culture, Henry goes over to his friend Runyen's to stay the night. This one night adventure threw together the stereotypical Asian family dynamics. The family lives in a small apartment and Runyen must share a bedroom with grandma (YaYa) who speaks little to no english but has a lot to say. At dinner Henry must have spilled something on his pants because after dinner grandma shouted in Japanese something like, "you can save $25 by drying those pants in the microwave." Next thing you know Runyen's dad was taking Henry's pants out of the microwave and handing them back to him. Henry then said, "This is great I feel like your family may just break out and start singing at any point." Sure enough, Runyen's parents were right in front of the TV singing karaoke in the living room. When it was time for bed, Henry had had enough, Yaya came in and began snoring and then talking in her sleep in Japanese. The treat of staying overnight at his best friends was no better than staying at home.
Developing Trust: When you are blind/VI, one of the most important characteristics that you must develop is trust. If you don't put your trust in others and you always try to do it yourself, things typically end poorly. Even more difficult is putting your trust in something when you have had bad results in the past.
In this episode, Mel reveals his difficulty with trust. He first puts GPS tracking on his daughter to know where she is at all times. Next, he allows Joyce to make decisions about Katie's privileges but has a backup plan because he doesn't trust her judgement (this lack of trust was probably warranted as his ex-wife Joyce is not the sharpest tool in the shed). Third and probably most significant, Mel didn't trust his guide dog Elvis when the dog gave commands to stop. Mel learned quickly about putting his trust in Elvis after falling in a deep hole on the sidewalk. Finally, at the end of the show, Elvis stopped in front of a puddle while crossing the street and Mel finally listened to Elvis's command and avoided the puddle.
After speaking with many blind/VI individuals that have guide dogs, they have told me that it can be very difficult at first to put all your trust in the guide dog. The amount of trust one must put in the dog is mind boggling and sometimes in their early days of work the dog doesn't always do the job perfectly. Trust becomes even more difficult when you have a small amount of vision left but also have a guide dog. No matter who you are, your first instinct is to try and use whatever vision you have as your most accurate source of information. This means when your dog tells you one thing and your "inaccurate" vision is telling you differently, you are swayed to go with your visual input. Through trial and error most blind/VI individuals figure it out that its best to put your trust in your resources (guide dog, audio books, other people) rather than the small amount of vision that you have remaining. There are times that the guide dog is just not a good fit for the individuals or is not fit for the job but regardless, we must learn how to trust in order to succeed.