Will Smith considers himself to be a warrior who is teaching his kids the way of life. In such role, the actor ensures that Trey, Jaden, and Willow have the tools necessary to survive the wild world and thrive in a materialistic society that sometimes places more value on what one has than on inner strengths. Will recently sat down with Haute Living to talk about his parenting methods and how it felt to work side-by-side with his son for the second time. Check out what the legendary actor had to say!

On working with Jaden again.


“He was seven years old in The Pursuit of Happiness, he is 14 now. There’s something really powerful about a 13 year-old going out to learn how to hunt with his father. I consider myself a warrior, and I’m a Samurai teaching my son how to fight, how to love, just really helping him develop in a young man. It was our version of a bromitzvah!”

The movie’s characters and their real-life parallel.

“It was funny because my character is this huge general and a great warrior, and his son is trying to follow in his footsteps so it was similar in that sense. I think because we got to talk about our characters, Cypher and Kitai, we were really talking about Will and Jaden. We had plenty of conversations about things like discipline and why Cypher felt like it was such a necessity to be harder on Kitai than even on full-grown rangers. The concept of life and death is what comes into play as a father. Whether you are watching basketball or washing the dishes, in the mind of a warrior father, everything is life or death. The way you wash those dishes, the way you clean your room, the way you handle your schoolwork, one day its going to come back in a life or death scenario.”

Image from movie After Earth

Similarities in parenting from childhood memories.

“I grew up in a family business so my father, my mother and all my brothers and sisters worked in the family business, so that’s really the only way I know how to parent. In real situations, you are going out in the real world and you are earning real money. The things you say and do in the world will affect the family for real. My style of parenting is very similar to that of my parents, minus the concept of ownership. I think that, specifically in African American households, the idea coming out of slavery, there’s a concept of your children being property and that was a major part that Jada and I released with our kids. We respect our children the way we would respect any other person. Things like cleaning up their room. You would never tell a full-grown adult to clean their room, so we don’t tell our kids to clean their rooms. Actually, we tell our kids ‘you don’t have a room, that’s our room and we are letting you borrow it.’ So the same way you would say to an adult if you let them use car, you say, ‘Yo man, clean my car! Don’t drive around all filthy like that!’ And it’s perfectly reasonable for you to want an adult to clean your car, so we feel it’s perfectly reasonable to ask our kids to clean the rooms that we are letting them use.”

Image from movie After Earth

Will’s legacy.

“I think right now I’m really starting to create it. I love the idea that anything is possible. I like the idea that when I show up, magic happens, that all of a sudden people feel like something which seemed impossible just got a little more possible. I want my legacy to be inspiration, that I inspired people to become everything that they dreamed and even the things that they never dreamed. That’s what I am doing with Jaden now, helping him develop and learn and grow. I want that to be my legacy. I want to look back at the string of lives that I changed.”




Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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