From Prodigy to Fugitive: How a Stolen Childhood Fueled Frank Abagnale’s Crimes

I watched a movie some time ago: “Cat and Mouse Game”.

I shed several tears while watching it.

The film is based on a true story and the protagonist is Frank Abagnale.

He is the youngest wanted fugitive in FBI history——

From the age of 16 to 21, he pretended to be a pilot, doctor, lawyer, etc.

He also forged $2.5 million in checks in 26 countries and was wanted by many countries.

He was later arrested and imprisoned. After his release, he began to work for the FBI as a security consultant and lecturer.

What really touched me in the film was not Frank’s highly intelligent crimes or his thrilling escape experiences;

But behind this series of “defying feats”,

He is actually just a child——

A poor child who was repeatedly misled by his father and went astray;

A helpless child who tries hard to save his father but is repeatedly frustrated.

In terms of family education, this is a very reflective movie that is worth watching by parents.

Because it fully presents to us:

How did a pair of terrible real-life parents lead a smart child astray?

More importantly, it also tells us:

How does a good spiritual father make a lost boy change his ways?

After watching the film four or five times, I concluded three key points.

What three specific points? Please see today’s article.

Frank’s father was a successful businessman.

Later, because the company had tax problems, he couldn’t get a bank loan, and the capital turnover was poor and he went bankrupt.

Frank’s mother couldn’t bear the poverty, cheated on a powerful man, and later divorced her husband.

On the day my parents signed the divorce agreement,

16-year-old Frank couldn’t bear the blow and chose to run away from home and start his career of criminal fraud.

Ostensibly, it was the shock of family breakdown that led Frank astray;

But looking back on his upbringing, this is actually not the case.

In fact, what really led him astray was the family education he received, especially the education given to him by his father.

There is a scene in the video:

After his father went bankrupt, Frank was forced to transfer to an ordinary high school.

On the first day of school, he pretended to be a substitute French teacher, made fun of the whole class, and even made the real substitute teacher angry.

After the principal found out, he very seriously asked Frank’s parents to come and talk.

At that time, my mother was smoking as if nothing had happened;

After the meeting, the father and his son smiled at each other and showed approval.

Later, Frank pretended to be a pilot and forged checks to obtain a large amount of illegal wealth.

The father knew in his heart that what his son did was illegal, but he never stopped him;

Instead, while covering for his son in front of FBI agents, he encouraged his son to keep up the good work.

It seems that in his father’s eyes, earning illegal wealth through fraud is a glorious and proud thing.

Why is this so?

Because in real life,Frank’s father is such a person——

They often use tricks to manipulate others and break rules in order to achieve their goals.

When the company had tax problems, his father took Frank around to ask for loans from banks.

To get Frank a decent suit,

While the father was weaving lies about “grandmother’s death”, he bribed the store clerk with a necklace.

Finally convinced the other party to make an exception and rent them a new suit.

Later, when Frank was deceiving, he often imitated his father’s behavior——

Weave tragic stories, bribe others with gifts, and achieve your goals quickly.

He does not know how to obtain wealth through legitimate means, nor does he know that his fraudulent behavior will bring huge harm to society.

Because his parents never taught him, and even continued to indulge him in words and mislead him in actions.

This is how a pair of bad parents misleads a child’s growth.

In the beginning, Frank forged checks to cash out and pretended to be a pilot, just to make ends meet and make a quick buck.

After quickly gaining wealth through this method, he came up with an idea:

Earn enough money to get back all the things your father lost;

And help his father get his mother back and achieve family reunion.

The first Christmas after running away from home——

Frank wears a handsome pilot uniform and invites his father to a fancy restaurant.

He handed his father the keys to a high-end sports car:

“After lunch, we drove to pick up my mother and took her for a drive. ”

But my father was still stubbornly resisting, unwilling to admit the failure of his career or face the fact of his divorce.

He rejected Frank on the grounds of “tax bureau supervision” and promised to persuade his wife to come back.

That night, Frank was homeless.

He took the initiative to call FBI agent Carl to inform him of his whereabouts and ask him to catch him.

But Carl didn’t believe Frank’s words and did not go to arrest him.

Later, Frank got tired of the life of being on the run, so he forged a false identity and pretended to be a doctor, and became the night shift supervisor of a hospital.

There, he fell in love with a nurse and planned to marry her.

The second Christmas after running away from home——

Frank found his father again with his engagement invitation:

“I invited my mother to the wedding. I have a luxury car, a luxury house, I have everything;

I will customize a set of high-end clothes for you, and buy two first-class tickets for you and your mother…”

But my father looked blank:

“Your mother is married to someone else and has her own house. ”

Frank was stunned for a moment: “Okay, it’s all over, I’m ready to quit.” ”

At that time, his father already knew that Frank was engaged in illegal and criminal fraud activities.

Not only did he not stop him, he also instigated Frank to continue: “Don’t stop, the FBI will never catch you.” ”

That night, Frank was at a loss.

He once again took the initiative to call FBI agent Carl and asked him to let him go.

But Carl sternly refused.

Later, Carl really caught up to the engagement scene, but Frank escaped first.

The third Christmas after running away from home——

Carl chases Frank all the way to Mantha, France, and successfully captures him.

That’s where Frank’s parents met and fell in love.

Frank’s attempt to save his parents completely failed, and his career of fraud came to an end.

Then why was Frank able to turn from darkness to light and change his ways?

Is it just because he accepted the punishment of law and imprisonment?

actually not.

It comes more from Karl’s spiritual guidance, support and trust in him.

In the process of Frank’s improvement, Karl made three important points:

① Establish rules.

During the years Frank committed crime, Carl pursued him relentlessly.

On Christmas Eve the next year, Frank called and begged Carl to let him go:

“I’m getting married, I want to settle down, I want to get this over with.”

Carl responded:

“You stole millions of dollars, this is not something you can avoid;

You’re going to jail and I can’t let you go, it’s my job. ”

If you do something wrong, you must take responsibility for your mistakes;
If you break the law, you must accept legal sanctions.

This is Carl’s responsibility for his work and his insistence on justice.

After hanging up the phone——

Frank finally understood the importance of obeying the law, which was a part of his family education that had been missing.

② Provide support.

On Christmas Eve of the third year, Carl found Frank in an abandoned warehouse in Mancha, France.

At that time, there were many European police ambushing outside the warehouse.

Carl swore in the name of his daughter and persuaded Frank to voluntarily accept police arrest.

He then spent two years applying to have Frank extradited to the United States;

He then spent another four years bailing Frank out of prison and allowing him to work for the FBI as his guardian.

You are guilty and I persist in arresting you;
If you are in trouble, I will do my best to help you.

This is Karl’s insistence on justice and tolerance for human nature.

After entering the FBI——

Frank finally found a legitimate way to use his intelligence, make meritorious deeds, and regain his dignity.

③ Authorize to leave.

One Friday, Frank asked to spend the weekend with Carl.

But Carl rejected Frank on the grounds that he “had to spend time with his daughter on the weekend.”

This casual rejection triggered Frank’s trauma of abandonment.

In pain, he forged his pilot certificate again in order to escape.

Carl chases Frank to the airport:

“If you go back to Europe, you will die in a European prison;If you try to escape from the United States, you will be imprisoned for another 50 years.

I’m letting you go, Frank, I’m sure you’ll be back next Monday;Look, no one is after you. ”

If you are prepared to make a mistake, I will tell you the consequences in advance;
But I won’t stop you, I’ll give the decision back to you.

This is Carl’s trust in humanity and his empowerment in Frank.

After obtaining Carl’s authorization, Frank learned to take responsibility for his actions and returned to the FBI on time the following Monday.

write at the end

From the perspective of his family of origin, Frank is unfortunate——

He has extraordinary intelligence, but is misled by his father time and time again;

He wanted to save his father who was in dire straits, but was rejected time and again by his father;

Until later, my mother remarried and my father died in an accident.

He lost his real parents and became an “orphan”.

Judging from his later experience, Frank was lucky——

In his criminal wanderings, Carl forcibly established rules for him;

In the trough of imprisonment, Carl opened a second life for him;

At the crossroads, Carl gave him trust and authority to leave.

He gains a spiritual father and moves toward growth and maturity.

This is a story about a smart kid who went astray, and a story about a bad boy who found his way back.

Watch family education through videos,

The key to a child’s healthy growth is not how much money the family has or how smart the parents are.

Rather it lies in:

whether he can be guided correctly when he makes a mistake;
Whether he can get genuine support when he is frustrated;
Will he be empowered to leave when he grows up.


As parents, don’t try to tie up your children, but give them full respect and freedom;

As children, don’t try to save your parents, but respect their parents’ fate and life choices.

Respecting each other, being independent of each other, and staying well is the most refreshing and healthy parent-child relationship.

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