Slightly OT: An Excellent Lesson
by, 05-20-2014 at 08:03 AM
I watched Frozen for the first time this past weekend. Yes, I know, I’m way behind on my current events. In all fairness, my parents took The Boy to see it in the theaters and it was not high on my personal priority list.
When I let The Boy select his own preschool graduation present this past weekend, he chose the Frozen DVD. Of course, we had to watch it as soon as we got home from the store. I had seen mixed opinions/reviews of the movie here on MC and on other Disney fan sites, so I was interested in seeing it myself.
**Spoilers Ahead… do not read further if you haven’t seen the movie and want to keep its twists a surprise**
I've seen a lot of people praising the lesson children (especially girls) learn from Anna. She is strong, loving, proactive, and although she gets help from Kristoff she is the one who ultimately acts to heal her sister and fix the problem.
I've also seen people praising the lesson children learn from Elsa. She has a creative force that can be used to do good things when she controls it, and that can do harm when she does not. Learning to control our impulses and use them in appropriate ways is one of the gauges we apply to measure progress from childhood to adulthood.
Of course, there is also the overarching lesson that love is the most powerful weapon against any adversity.
Although I agree these are important lessons, I think we are overlooking the more important lesson in Frozen.
As we finished the movie the first time through, The Boy looked at me and said, “Mama, is Elsa the bad guy?” I replied, “No, sweetie, Elsa does some bad things, but she is not a bad person. Prince Hans is the bad guy.” After a moment of confused reflection, he said, “But… he is a prince.”
THIS is the lesson our children (and some adults) need to learn. Handsome/pretty, rich, famous, well-mannered… these are not the things that make us good. Actions make us good. Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame started this lesson; a character many would consider a monster is the kindest, most humane person in the movie. Gaston from Beauty and the Beast furthered this lesson; he was handsome, popular and apparently successful, but Gaston's egotistical attitude and cruel facial expressions mark him as a villain from the start. Hans is the first Disney Villain I can think of who doesn't appear villainous until more than halfway through the movie. Instead, we are led to believe that he is good and is doing good. Especially to a child, the sudden change from prince charming to bad guy is shocking.
I’m willing to bet that by the time the Quest for DisneyBliss© 2016 is fulfilled, The Boy will have moved on from his fascination with Frozen. What I hope he never moves on from is the idea that goodness lies within a person, not in their external trappings. And isn't that an excellent lesson for us all?
T-749 days and counting…