Friday, September 20, 2013

Life Lessons in Disney Movies: For Boys

Originally, I thought that finding lessons for little girls was going to be tough, but as I set out to find morals that focus on boys, I realized, that it was going to be much more of a challenge. Men/boys in Disney movies tend to be a canned version of a "man's man". They tend to have minuscule roles, they are in a few fight scenes where they vanquish the horrible villain, and/or kiss the girl. However, their characters don't seen to possess much brain power, they are unable to control themselves once they meet the pretty lady in the story, and in some movies, they don't even speak!

How in the world are little boys supposed to learn anything from these one dimensional lug heads? Lucky for you, I have compiled a list of Disney movies that consist of great lessons for the little men in your life. Just as with my first list in Life Lessons in Disney Movies, these lessons are wonderful talking points to share with your little ones. Use the movies to start the conversations that will lead to smart, caring, driven kiddos. Here goes!

Swiss Family Robinson (1960) Poster#1- Swiss Family Robinson: A family is stranded on a desert island when their ship gets caught in a storm. They built an awesome tree house, fought burly pirates, and survived some scary situations. Lesson: Make the best of the situation you are in. Anything can be a positive experience, if you make the best of it. Also, focus on the people you love, not the things that you have.

#2- Hercules: As a baby, Hercules is stolen from his parents (Zeus and Hera), and made into a mortal. He spends many years believing that he is nothing more than a clumsy human, who doesn't fit in anywhere. Lesson: When you embrace your true self, the people who will love you, for you, will show themselves. Don't give your downfalls more power than the things that make you amazing!

Image of A Bug's Life#3- A Bug's Life: A group of misfit bugs, led by the biggest outcast of all, battles the big, strong grasshoppers when they threaten their community. Lesson: #1- Being "nerdy", smart, and imaginative pays off. #2- When you work together, you can accomplish much more than you could ever image.

#4- Toy Story: A cowboy doll is jealous of a shiny new spaceman, because he believes that the toy space ranger will ruin his relationship with his owner. Lesson: #1- Don't judge others before you get to know them. #2- Jealousy only hurts you. Trust that your friends love and care for you, no matter who else they spend their time with.

Image of Up#5- The Lion King: A young lion cub runs away from home after his father dies. He misses out on the opportunity to be king, and separates himself from the ones who love him most. Lesson: #1- Don't run away from your problems. #2- Don't let your past mistakes, stop you from your future.

#6- Up: An elderly man, who has just lost his wife, sets out to fulfill a life long dream, when he meets a wilderness explorer who joins him on his journey. Lesson: It is never too late to make your dreams/goals a reality. Just give it a shot! Who knows, the journey there, could end up being the best part.

Image of The Emperor's New Groove#7- Peter Pan: Three siblings are whisked to Neverland to live with Peter Pan and his gang of misfit boys. On this island, no one grows up, and parents are no where to be found. Lesson: #1- Growing up doesn't mean you can't have fun. There are amazing things that come with getting older. #2- Appreciate your parents. No matter how unlikely it seems, you will miss them when they're gone.

#8- The Emperor's New Groove: A selfish emperor, is turned into a llama, which forces him to trust and work with some one who he sees as "beneath him". Lesson: Don't put people down, or belittle them for what you perceive, are downfalls. Everyone has the right to be who they are, and follow their own path. Respect them for that.
Image of The Fox and the Hound
#9- Tarzan: A human boy is raised by a family of gorillas, but has to decide what to do when he meets a woman and her father. Lesson: Families may look different, but what matters is that they love and support one another.

#10- The Fox and the Hound: A fox and a puppy become great friends, until the people around them tell them that they should be enemies and need to stay away from one another. Lesson: Good friends are worth fighting for. Nothing should stop you from sharing your life with people who treat you well, and make you feel good about yourself.

Although boys could learn a lot from the movies and lessons on the list above, of course, girls could hear these messages as well. By picking gender-neutral/male focused plots, boys may be more likely to see themselves in the roles being portrayed in these movies. Boys can enjoy and learn lessons from fairy tales too!

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