Remember the feverish obsession kids had with Frozen? How can we forget, right? You may still be having nightmares of Elsa that you continue working through with your therapist. You may twitch any time you hear the phrase, “Let it go.”
The story and fan fair of Disney’s new Cinderella are magical enough that, like Frozen, your kids may want to watch it again and again. This beautiful new depiction of the classic Cinderella tale was not just a bunch of glitter and fluff. Cinderella taught 3 specific life lessons that has almost made me want my kids to watch it over and over again. These 3 messages are unique and hard to come by in our modern, cynical culture. I hope my own children will soak up each of these lessons and live by them each day. These are also lessons that can guide our parenting and interaction with others. They are helpful reminders for both parents and children.
3 Essential Lessons From Cinderella
1. Have courage and be kind! Courage and kindness are so important, and I love the fact that these were packaged together. So often we think of courage as a harsh and brutish sort of quality, reserved for knights in shining armor and buff action heroes. These characters are rarely associated with profound kindness. The most refreshing message in this line is the deep sense of honesty that to be kind, even when others are not, is one of the greatest and most difficult kinds of courage.
How you can teach this principle every day: Be kind. No. Matter. What! Respond with kindness and gentleness even when your kids act out and lose their cool. Do hard things. Show your children that courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to continue even though you are afraid. Tell your young children stories of everyday courage and kindness.
2. They do as well as they are able. Upon Cinderella’s first encounter with the prince, he asks her how she is treated by those she lives with. Her response touched me as much as any line in any movie in years. She said simply, without further explanation, “They treat me as well as they are able.” She did not express disdain or hatred but rather recognized their ignorance with grace and mercy.
How you can teach this principle every day: Seek empathy. Try to understand others’ point of view. This doesn’t mean making excuses for things that are wrong or taking mistreatment lying down. It means understanding why others do what they do and casting out hatred. This also means looking at the ways in which our children act and recognizing their developmental capacity and recognizing they’re trying to do their best with what they have.
3. Just because it’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done. In the same scene that she first meets the prince, Cinderella shows kindness toward the stag that the prince and his party are hunting and asks him why he chases the poor animal. The prince responds, “It’s what is done.” Her quick rebuttal is, “Just because it’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what SHOULD be done.” I pray that my children heard this line and make it part of there personal philosophy for life. It would serve us as parents also to remember this that just because we have done something a certain way does not mean that it is the only or the best way to do it.
How you can teach this principle every day: Do things differently. Ask for others input and value their opinions. Try new things and show some flexibility in brainstorming and finding solutions to every day problems and family conflicts.
These 3 simple lessons touched me. I hope that they speak to you as they did to me and that we can seek to teach these principles to our children each and every day. Maybe it’s time for a family movie night. When the movie is over, don’t just leave it at that. Talk to your kids about these important lessons and how they apply to their lives.