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Life lessons from kids’ movies

In honor of the upcoming summer movie season, I’d like to share the best life lessons my kids have gotten from the movies. Hey, you take them where you can get them, right?

I’ve learned not to underestimate the moral value of a day at the movies. Oh, sure, we all get the pathos of Darth Vader. But even silly, saccharine films have kicked off amazing philosophical conversations with my kids. It’s all part of opening myself to the learning that’s all around us. Oh God, I’m starting to sound like Obi-Wan Kenobi. But that’s my point. So before you worry about “summer brain drain,” think about what you and your kids are learning while munching popcorn at the theater.

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  • Passion 1 of 7
    Passion
    Po (of "Kung Fu Panda") is an unlikely Dragon Warrior. But his passion is strong enough to see him to his goal, even when he doesn't believe it himself.
  • Persistence 2 of 7
    Persistence
    Dory's mantra, "just keep swimming," reminds my kids to lean into the wind and keep on in the face of obstacles. From "Finding Nemo."
  • Teamwork 3 of 7
    Teamwork
    Life is too big to do alone. Never forget the importance of your fellowship. (From "Lord of the Rings")
  • Sacrifice 4 of 7
    Sacrifice
    If you've never seen Miyazaki's "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind," you're in for a mind-blower. The heroine is my daughter's role model for strength, bravery, and sometimes, the need to sacrifice for your ideals.
  • Facing fear 5 of 7
    Facing fear
    Following your dreams can be scary — ask Rapunzel of "Tangled". But that's no reason not to do it.
  • Complexity 6 of 7
    Complexity
    Darth Vader (of "Star Wars") was a baddie. But he was also a goodie. Life is rarely black-and-white.
  • Vision 7 of 7
    Vision
    Someone recently said that action begins with a dream. That wisdom is as true now as it was when I first saw "Pinocchio."

Which movies have kicked off the best “life lesson” conversations with your kids?


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