Ok, this might be a little corny, but I’m finding some big life lessons presented in movies as I’m watching with my kids.
Let me explain. I’m trying really hard to not resort to having the TV on all the time with everyone home during this quarantine phase. I’ve tried to make it an exciting event (“movie day” with special chairs and snacks in popcorn containers) rather than a normal occurrence. It works, sometimes.
Most recently, I noticed how many questions my kids ask when I turn a new movie on. And I realized they’re not asking questions to interrupt but instead to help them make sense of what they’re seeing.
So I started answering their questions. All of them. And then I started asking them some questions, too. Before I knew it, I realized there was an untapped opportunity here: if we watch a movie, we have a conversation about what we’ve learned or taken away from it. *Flashback to freshman English class.*
As a coach, I’m sharing some of these big lessons with you to encourage you to have discussions with your kids about some of the things you see everyday – not just in movies – and to always entertain questions. After all, how can you learn new things, or see how things could be better, if you’re not willing to ask a question?
In fact, one of the greatest things we can do for our kids is to encourage them to find their own answers. By asking them questions, they can try out their own thinking and practice putting their thoughts together to (ideally) develop into a critical thinking and problem-solving person who can successfully navigate their way through life. But this means we can’t direct and control; we have to guide them and help them interpret what they see so they can learn about life and themselves and how to put the two together.
So here we go: lessons you find in movies. Up first, Frozen 2.
Full disclosure: I put this movie on in desperation for an hour of uninterrupted time to get some stuff done around the house and try to tackle some work. But I mistakenly sat within watching distance and let me tell you: I didn’t get any work done. I was sucked into this movie in a way I haven’t been in a very long time.
I know I’m late to the party with this one, but I was absolutely amazed at the depth of the life lessons shared in this movie. Here are just three that resonated with me.
Lesson 1: This will all make sense when I am older – It’s a great song Olaf sings (check it out on YouTube) as he encounters a variety of things that scare and confuse him.
The Takeaway: Life is big and amazing. But it can also be confusing and scary. And this is ok. Moving through the confusion, the scary parts and the overwhelming moments is part of life, but you can always get through it when you remain positive and choose to see the good. I also can appreciate the sarcasm here because really, when do any of us really have the ability to make sense of why things happen the way they do?
The Communication: This is a great discussion point for your kids if you’re looking for a way to chat with them about our current situation with COVID-19, or any situation they find themselves in that they don’t know how to handle. Whether they’re 2, 12 or 20, they’re looking for a way to make sense of all of this. Their world has been changed, drastically, and it was done seemingly overnight. This will all make sense when I am older could be a great way to illustrate to them that as they gain wisdom that comes from every experience they have in life, they’ll start to recognize when they can and can’t control a situation. And in both situations, they’ll see how they can control their response to the situation. Like Olaf in this song, he chose to remain positive and optimistic instead of cowering in fear.
Lesson 2: Lost in the woods – Another powerful moment, we see Kristoff lamenting that he’s been left behind, forced to make a decision to follow Anna (again) or to wait for her to come back. He’s confused and unsure about what this means for their relationship and he works through it by highlighting his confusion, frustration and undying love for Anna.
The Takeaway: It’s ok to be vulnerable. It’s ok to be confused. It’s ok to be uncertain of what the future holds. It’s not ok to sit back and wait for the good to come to you. Life is what it is. It’s what you do with what you’re given that makes the difference.
The Communication: When you feel confused or vulnerable, sometimes talking through your situation can be incredibly helpful. Some may choose to journal or draw to get their thoughts on paper for a visual representation of what they’re feeling. Some may choose to talk to someone, like a friend, family member or coach, to hear the words said out loud and get feedback and support. At the end of the day, feeling vulnerable is not a weakness; it’s a sign of self-awareness that helps each of us determine how to act in a meaningful way. It’s a learning opportunity to help yourself understand why you feel the way you feel and identify how you can overcome the feeling of vulnerability. The biggest lesson, though, is that even though there may be times when you feel vulnerable, confused or defeated, it’s what you do in the next moment that matters more: how you choose to respond to those feelings to make the next moment better.
Lesson 3: You’re the one you’ve been looking for – Ok, SPOILER ALERT. If you haven’t seen the movie, continue reading this lesson with caution. This is the scene when Elsa learns that the person she’s been waiting for, the person to help her navigate her magical powers and help her become who she’s supposed to be has actually been her the whole time. It’s a powerful scene… who’s cutting onions?
The Takeaway: Sometimes, you can be so caught up in what you think life should be or how you think it should look that you forget to see what’s right in front of you: you. The uniquely wonderful, amazing and very capable you.
The Communication: Imagine what the world would be like if you were able to fully embrace all your strengths, talents and liabilities. What would it be like if you were able to fully step into the person you were born to be? How could you be different? How would the world be different because of you?
What’s holding you back?
Frozen 2 is ultimately about learning how to become self-aware and to embrace who you are – all your strengths, passions, liabilities and triggers. You are just right as you are, and you have what you need to have a great life. You may just need some help to discover, uncover or access all that you are.
What do you know of yourself? Start to build your list of your abilities, interests and the things that matter for you. And if you want some help, check out The Greatness Zone, a great read while everyone is at home during COVID-19 to learn how to discover who you are and how to connect what is best in you to your world.
COVID-19 or not, you are capable of great things. Use everything around you to help you learn this and ultimately discover what is great and remarkable about you. Then bring it to your life and do great things.
Consider reading What Fills You Up: Finding Your Fit