Anyone with children will know that children get attached to their movie characters. They will watch a movie until you desperately wish to not be able to hear.
But here is what I love about kid’s movies… they come ready made with life lessons and mom’s and dad’s just need to take the opportunity to talk them out with their little ones.
Below are six of my daughter’s favorite movies and the life lessons one can learn (some have many more than one, and will be expanded on in time; I’m just choosing what I feel is the main idea).
Summary: Turbo is about a snail, who dreams of racing in the Indy 500. Like all snails, he’s a bit slow in speed, that is until a freak accident infuses him with gasoline causing him to become fast. Not faster than a snail, but faster than most automobiles.
Lesson: Turbo has big dreams (just like human counterpart Tito- who wants to take his brother’s taco business to the next level), that seems out of reach. Everyone tells him that he can’t. He’s a snail, he’s limited to what a snail can do. But Turbo does not give up and he races and wins the Indy 500.
Even when things seem impossible, do not give up. Always go for your dreams.
Summary: This is easily one of the cutest movies ever made. Eep, her mom and dad, and brother and sister are… well… cave people. The cave is their home, the cave is their protector…and with a healthy dose of fear heaped on them by their father, they plan on keeping it that way. Eep wants more than the walls of the cave. She wants to know what is really so dangerous about the great big world outside.
Eep meets Guy and his pet sloth, Belt. She is informed that the world is changing and those who don’t seek hire ground are going to meet their end. Eep convinces her family to make the move, and the journey begins.
Lesson: Simply put, change and going into the unknown is scary. It is okay to be afraid. That feeling helps us to be cautious, it helps us to remain safe. But we also can not allow fear to hold us back because what lies before us could be so much better than what we’re leaving behind.
Summary: Mike Wazowski has his eye set on a job as a scarer at Monsters Inc. The only way to get there is through a degree in the scaring program at Monsters University. College wasn’t what Mike had expected. No believes he is cut out to be a scarer because of how he looks.
James “Sulley” Sullivan is the son of a legend and expects to ride those coat tails to graduation. To his surprise things don’t work that way.
Now both Mike and Sulley find themselves facing expulsion from school and these unlikely friends team up to fight and keep themselves in school.
Spoiler: They still get expelled
Lesson: In most movies, the heroes come through in the end and win the day. This didn’t happen for Mike and Sulley but we learn in the credits that they instead went and got jobs in the mail room of Monsters Inc. They showed what they’re worth and worked their way up to the scare floor… and thanks to Monsters Inc. We know that they became the stuff of legends.
What a better lesson to teach a child than that plan A is not always going to work out and that it is good to have a plan B, plan C…plan Z so that even when one door closes they can still find a way to achieve their dream.
Summary: Ted lives in an artificial world, Thneadville, where they even have someone who delivers bottled air like the Culligan man delivers giant bottles of water. Ted has a crush, Aubrey, and Aubrey’s one dream is to see a real Truffula Tree.
The problem is, there are no more trees. Grammy tells Ted about a man named, The Onecler, who lives outside of town. Ted goes to see this man and he tells his story.
He set off to make his fortune with his family telling him how he’ll fail as he leaves. He comes to a forest of truffula trees and cuts one down to use the tops to knit a thnead (it’s a fine thing that all people need). From the tree stump pops The Lorax, who has one job, to speak for the trees.
Through the story and his own fight with Mr. O’Hair, Ted learns the value of taking care of the natural world.
Lesson: I’m sure everyone is expecting the lesson to be that nature is important and we should take care of it, and yes that is one point that the movie makes but the bigger lesson is that we need to stand up for those who can’t. We can not sit idly by and watch as the wrong things happens again and again.
It’s great to be able to stand up for yourself, it’s even better if you can stand up for one who can’t stand up for themselves.
Summary: Taken from his tropic home as a baby bird and dropped off the back of a truck in minnesota, Blue Macaw, Blu, lives a cushy life with his bookstore owning human. That is until a strange man from Rio comes in and announces that he may be the last male of his species and they need to come to Rio right away.
A theft at the bird sanctuary puts Blu, and Jewel (the female Blue Macaw from the sanctuary) on the adventure of a lifetime… oh yeah and Blu doesn’t fly.
Lesson: In one of the end scenes Jewel’s wing has been injured, she can’t physically fly, while Blu’s flightless life is all in his head. Jewel falls from the plane and without hesitation Blu jumps after her. He catches her and finds his flight.
Summary: As children Elsa hurt Anna. It was an accident. Elsa has powers she doesn’t understand and has no idea how to control. Fear kept her isolated. Elsa wanted to keep Anna safe, and Anna wanted her sister Elsa.
A fight sets off a snow storm thanks to Elsa’s uncontrolled abilities and she retreats to the mountains. Anna can’t let her sister go and goes after her.
Lesson: Elsa lives in so much fear that she doesn’t understand that allowing love in is what will help her control her abilities. Rely on your family, one does not need to deal with their struggles and fears alone.
As I have said some of these movies I could do whole posts on what these movies teach (and I might just do that with each of my daughter’s favorite movies) but that is for another time.
What kid’s movie do you think teaches the best life lesson?
Please share the movie title and this life lesson in the comments below