Can we just talk about Bumi?
I mean he was the first born son of the most powerful bender in the world and the first female water bending warrior. Socially Aang and Katara would have tried to keep him from feeling the brunt of public expectations (and their own) but even though Bumi seems to exude confidence it obviously still ended up taking its toll on him. He had a huge expectation placed on him by his parents, their high positions in society, and by society itself, to be a bender and even more so to be an airbender like his father to carry on the culture.
Now many of you will have seen a rant by me a week ago discussing Aangs relationship with Tenzin. Though I defended Aang for being that way by circumstance, I in no way meant to say that his relationship with his kids was healthy.
Kya had Katara as her waterbending teacher, Tenzin had Aang, and it seems that the first born child ended up with middle child syndrome and a feeling of being constantly overlooked which explains a lot about his character. In this case he could have been either wildly shy and introverted or swung in the completely opposite direction and been loud and outgoing as he is. I’m sure his siblings are proud of him for choosing the latter.
Bumi grew up to be a general of the united forces which was a job as if not more high powered than tenzin’s as neither of the two could come back as Kya did when Aang passed to help their grieving mother. I’m going to bet life wasn’t always peachy in the forces yet he still retains a very positive outlook on life which can be difficult in normal circumstances let alone in his profession.
I’m sure Aang and Katara both worked to instill in Tenzin that he wasnt a disappointment, but even at retirement age, 16 years after Aang’s death, he doesnt believe he’s lived up to what Aang wanted from his first born son.
I think this scene really captures the fact that as confident and outgoing as someone can seem, everyone has their insecurities and its okay for anybody to need a hug once in a while.