The other day, I was trying to explain to my son why he shouldn’t talk to strangers. I didn’t want to freak him out, nor did I want to quell his exuberant personality, so I was kind of struggling with the whole concept. Then all of a sudden he piped up ‘I get it. Like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The kids were taken to the castle, by the child catcher…. he said he had sweets but he didn’t.’ If I had ever questioned whether or not I should have let him watch my favourite childhood film, (sing-along everyone ‘oh you pretty chitty bang bang…’) those doubts vanished in an instant.
‘Yes! Yes! Just like that!’ I cried. We then talked through the scene where Jeremy and Jemima are tempted by the offers of treacle tarts and ice cream. They follow the pied piper to his sweet shop, but it is in fact a cage!! They’d been tricked! In that moment I realised the power of messages within movies, for kids; and it got me thinking… What messages can us adults take from the wonderful kids’ movies that we have watched so many times, we know word for word?
Maybe like me you live your life according to the wise words of a forgetful blue fish. Finding Nemo character Dory’s line: ‘just keep swimming’ dominates my life. As I juggle a full time job, two small kids, birthday parties to plan and lunch boxes to fill, I feel myself drowning under the weight of responsibility. I then think of Dory and her sing-song joyous attitude to life and I remind myself that all I have to do, is keep swimming through this patch and it will pass. That in a few hours I can collapse on the sofa with a bag of chips…
At a tender age I first saw Cinderella and I was completely enchanted. Long before I started perusing the self-help section of the book store, I had been imprinted with the lesson ‘dreams do come true.’ And indeed they do. You just have to have faith. Cinders taught me that, as she spun around mopping the floors, wishing for her Prince. I too think about this as I spin around my kitchen mopping the floor, wishing my Prince would just do the washing up for a change…
So next time your kid pipes up with ‘Can we watch Cars Mom?’ And your heart sinks, because you know what Lightning is in for and you’re not really sure you can deal with the 356th watch of it – take a deep breath. View Lightning and his journey with new eyes. For he is one selfish flashy car, convinced he needs no one and that winning is everything. Then he winds up in Radiator Springs, finds a whole bunch of buddies and learns the lesson that winning isn’t everything. Sometimes, even when you lose – you win. He loses the cup (I hope I’m not spoiling this for y’all) but he wins over his friends. So let’s take a look at some more films that all have something valuable to teach us!
Cars – go Lightning! 1 of 7
Sometimes you don't need to win to WIN! As Lightning discovers...
Horton Hears a Who 2 of 7
'A person is a person, no matter how small...' An important one to learn: respecting others, listening to them - realising that every person has value and should be heard. Plus, how cute are the Whos?
Bambi….. ahhhhhh 3 of 7
In Bambi, Thumper the cute little wabbit says 'If you can't say something nice... don't say nothin' at all.' Wise words we should all heed. There is too much gossiping and backstabbing and complaining in life. Why not try being nice? I promise you'll feel better. Ok, well...you might....
The Lion King 4 of 7
Hakuna Matata - that's all we need in life isn't it? No worries... That beautiful Swahili phrase is a great bit of advice - we all worry too much about needless things that never end up happening anyway. We should all just CHILL!
The Fox and the Hound 5 of 7
Anyone can be friends, even people that should be mortal enemies. What a profound lesson we should all take note of. When this cute as a button fox befriends a hound dog - his natural attacker, they go against everything they ought to know. Just because, they are buddies. Life should be exactly like this - anyone, from anywhere should be able to befriend someone else. We are the same...
Peter Pan 6 of 7
No matter what age you are in life - we should all celebrate the kid inside us! Peter Pan - the boy who never grew up (and I have dated a few of those in the past, lemme tell you!) does have a valuable life lesson - we all need to give up being cool, or grown up and just have some fun. Dive from that top board at the pool, dance like no-one is watching, sing in the shower and wear those crazy shoes... life is for living.
Toy Story 3 7 of 7
Perhaps my most favourite of all. When those Toys are meeting their doom in that inferno, and they all hold hands - well, I couldn't see I was crying so much. But their enduring friendships, utter loyalty and devotion to each other was nothing sort of amazing. Our friendships are the rock beneath our feet. They support, celebrate and commiserate with us and make us the people that we are. My oldest buddies go back to my 6 year old school days and are one of my greatest achievements. Friendship goes to infinity and beyond!
All photos credited: IMDB