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Just Keep Swimming
What Pixar Movies Can Teach Our Kids About Kindess
When we started thinking of ways to be a “better person” we realized that every principle you apply to your adult self stems from what you learned when you were a child. So, with that in mind, we wanted to give you parents some easy and relatable ways to teach your kids about kindness from a source they can recognize: Pixar movies! Here are just a few of our favorites and the lessons you can teach from them.
Big Hero 6 – FORGIVENESS
Academy Award Winner Big Hero 6 is the first to feature Marvel superhero characters and one of the most intense in the Pixar franchise. It centers on Hiro Hamada and his group of friends as they try to overthrow a super-villian who has stolen Hiro’s science project. It features a lovable healthcare robot named Baymax who helps Hiro cope with the loss of his brother and choose forgiveness over revenge.
It’s never too early to teach your child about forgiveness. Hiro has plenty of reasons to seek revenge, but with the help of his friends he realizes he has nothing to gain from revenge. Try watching this movie with your children and have a discussion after. Have some questions about the movie ready and find out how they think they can apply the principle of forgiveness to their lives.
Monsters, Inc. – TOLERANCE
Monsters, Inc. brings to life the monsters under the bed. We begin in Monstropolis at the Monsters, Inc. Scare Factory with Sulley, a top “scarer”, and his partner Mike as they attempt to power the city by scaring children in the human world. Things take a dangerous turn when Boo, a supposedly toxic, human girl, gets loose in Monstropolis. What we soon learn is sometimes those who seem the most scary and foreign can end up being our most treasured friends.
We live in a world where we are often taught to fear those who are unfamiliar. One of the best lessons you can teach your child is tolerance. Watch Monsters, Inc. with them and be ready to have a discussion with them about what tolerance is and what it means to show kindness to everyone. Also, encourage them to make friends with someone they deem to be “different” than themselves, invite that person over, make that person a card, anything to show them you care.
Up – COMPASSION
Up is the story of Carl Fredricksen and Russell the Boy Scout as they adventure in a balloon-covered house to Paradise Falls, South America. After Carl’s wife passes away, he vows to take the trip they always planned and employs some outrageous means to make the trip happen. A rather annoying child, and a crotchety, old man are unlikely friends, but what Up teaches us, is sometimes friendship and acceptance comes in unlikely forms.
An old man and a little kid aren’t likely friends, but this movie is a great way to teach your children about compassion. Carl and Russell are both very lonely in life, and by teaming up they find acceptance, love and camaraderie. After watching this movie with your kids, ask them who they know in their lives who need a friend and come up with ways to reach out to that person. Also consider taking your kids to visit those in need of friends. Whether that is at a hospital, nursing home or even an animal shelter!
Show your kids what compassion can do for others, a lesson we all need to learn daily.
Finding Nemo – Persistence
Another Academy Award winner on this list is Finding Nemo, which follows Marlin the Clownfish on his journey spanning an entire ocean to find his missing son, Nemo. After being caught by divers, Nemo is taken to a fish tank in Sydney, Australia and Marlin faces sharks, jellyfish, pelicans and a forgetful Blue Tang fish named Dory. We won’t tell you how it ends, but trust us when we say persistence does pay off!
Let’s face it, we all could be a little more persistent in our daily lives. Whether it comes to losing weight, understanding homework or working to get the job you want, persistence plays a factor. Have a family movie night with Nemo and Marlin and talk with them about all it took to reunite this fish family. “Just keep swimming” is one of the most recognizable quotes in children’s film and a great mantra to teach your kids to keep them working hard. Persistence is a trademark value of TGMC and we push the kids in our fun runs not to give up no matter what!
Toy Story – FRIENDSHIP OVER JEALOUSY
Pixar’s first full-length feature, Toy Story brings all your childhood fantasies and toys to life. We first meet Woody, Bo Peep, Slinky and Hamm on Andy, their owner’s, birthday as they await the impending arrival of new toys. Enter Buzz, the Space Ranger, who instantly becomes Andy’s favorite. Woody’s jealousy soon lands the pair in trouble when they get lost and end up in Sid’s bedroom, a child who plays a bit too rough.
The two soon realize in order to get home they will need to put their feelings aside and work together, learning along the way that there is room for everyone in the toy box. Jealousy is a very common trait in children, and let’s be honest, adults too. Woody’s jealousy over Buzz’s arrival can be easily understood by your kids, and you can use these two eventual friends as a great reminder of what can happen when your kids give up their jealousy. This movie works particularly well if you’re expecting another child in the family, so remember to pull it off the shelf if you see your kid getting envious of what another has or attention being given.
There are so many more children’s movies we could highlight, and we would love to hear your favorites! Comment below or post on our Facebook page if you have any movies you use to help educate your children (& yourself) on how to be kind!