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Eden Kennedy is a Southern California mom who, along with Alice Bradley, founded the website Let's Panic About Babies!, which became a book in 2011. Eden also blogs regularly at her personal blog, Fussy, where she posts both written and video content about her family life, blogging, books, and movies. On her Babble Voices blog, The Popcorn Whisperer, Eden writes about movies, television shows, and how entertainment relates to raising children.

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10 Films that Might Help Your Kid Be a Better Person

By Eden Kennedy |

Here come the holidays, and with them some moral dilemmas. I tell my son how gratifying it is to be generous and unselfish, and I try to model these qualities as best I can, but every year his wishlist gets longer and more complicated. The idea of “’tis better to give than to receive” is met with a shrug and, “Mom, you should thank me for helping you feel so good about all the awesome stuff you’re going to give me.”

See how he twisted that around? We assume he’ll be going to law school someday.

So to counter his wily ways, I turned to the movies. If I can’t adequately drive home the value of service, sacrifice, and loving everyone whether you like them or not, I can use Pixar to put a little more muscle into the message.

Not every film on this list will speak to every child, but my hope is there will be at least one or two that will capture your child’s attention and be sweet enough to help the medicine go down — the medicine being, essentially, don’t be a d*ck.

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Ten Films that Might Help Your Kid Be a Better Person

Despicable Me

The Plot: Gru, the evil villain (Steve Carrell), wants to steal the moon to prove he's the biggest villain ever, even though his mom (Julie Andrews) doesn't think he's smart enough or evil enough to do it. Then three girls selling cookies come to Gru's door. He tries to be evil to them, using them to get into his enemy's lair, but their unfailing intelligence, cheer, and inability to be insulted start to break down Gru's gruff exterior. When the orphanage removes the girls from him, he realizes how much they mean to him. Trigger warning for survivors of ballet recitals. The Lessons: People are sometimes grumpy because they feel worthless or unloved, but being patient with them can help turn things around; you can love someone but still be better off without them. Ages: 5 and up

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About Eden Kennedy

edenkennedy

Eden Kennedy

Eden Kennedy is a Southern California mom who, along with Alice Bradley, founded the website Let's Panic About Babies!, which became a book in 2011. Eden also blogs regularly at her personal blog, Fussy, where she posts both written and video content about her family life, blogging, books, and movies. Read bio and latest posts → Read Eden's latest posts →

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7 thoughts on “10 Films that Might Help Your Kid Be a Better Person

  1. Korinthia Klein says:

    An interesting list, but I’m going to have to disagree about Loony Toons. Totally fun, watch them on DVD with my kids (although initially had to get over the shock of all the guns and characters getting shot in the face since you don’t see that on many kids’ shows anymore), but as a tool to make my kids better people? Only if helping them with pronoun trouble counts as better, and that’s stretching it.

    1. Eden Kennedy says:

      Okay, Looney Tunes as Life Lessons might be too subtle for kids, I admit, but I can’t think of another series of animated vignettes where every one of the seven deadly sins is on display like that. So they’re really a kind of anti-lesson on how to behave. I should raise the age range on them to 14 and up.

  2. Korinthia Klein says:

    Now that I can get on board with!

  3. Kate says:

    Eden, I’d also like to suggest short films that help kids become better people. SpiritClips Originals are award-winning shorts that are indeed examples of life lessons about generosity, gratitude, acceptance, hope and achievement. Our films have won Mom’s Choice Awards and I think you and your audience would love to share them with the kids in your life. Our free films can be found here: http://spiritclips.com/page/films?browseby=filmtype&selected=free
    Take care!

  4. Anne says:

    I took a class on satire in college, and we discussed Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny’s origins in the stories about Brer Rabbit. They really are subtle lessons in how not to behave.

  5. Jen Wilson says:

    Love, love, love The Black Stallion. I remember seeing it in the theatre when it came out. I was close to the age of the boy and it sent shivers down my spine. Seeing it on this list gave me a thrill.

  6. Heidrance says:

    Additional lesson from It’s A Wonderful Life: never trust Uncle Billy with money.

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