Thursday, December 18, 2014

5 Important Life Lessons we've learned from Watching Disney films

5 Important Life Lessons we’ve learned from Watching Disney films

By: Brian Cotnoir

You know, I must admit that I was quite resentful towards Disney for the longest time.  For the longest time I wrote them off as repetitive and overrated...Then I became an Uncle, and started watching Disney animated movies with my little niece, and then I began watching Disney movies on my own too, and next thing I knew I started writing Top 5’s about the Best & Worst Disney Characters on Asylum for Nerds.  So today I am going to tell you 5 Important Lessons that we’ve all learned from watching Disney films.

1.) Losing a Parent is tough, but time heals all wounds (especially if you have family and friends to help you through)

It's okay, Bambi.  You shall overcome
So many people claim that “Disney is anti-family”, because a number of their animated film stories that feature a death of one of or both parents.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  I ask you to look at it this way:  growing up how many of your friends lived with both parents?  Off the top of my head I can only name 4 friends who parents didn’t get divorced when they were kids.  Now true, Disney parent absenteeism is more attributed to death than divorce or abandonment, but still losing a parent as scary know matter how you look at it.  Take Simba from “The Lion King” for example, he blames himself for the death of his father, and runs away from home and just wants to be left alone.  He is found by Timon and Pumbaa who take him under their wing and show him that life isn’t always easy and you can’t linger on the past, and they raise him like he was one of their own.  It’s a wonderful life lesson for kids going through tough times.

2.) Not all Monsters are bad.

Early on Disney studios had a very distinctive way of portraying characters.  The character design was as basic as you can get: you have the one young attractive character as the protagonist and then you have the older ugly character as the antagonist.  However, Disney has progressed over the years to show the “You can’t always judge a book by its cover” style, and it all started with the Beast from “Beauty and the Beast”; here you have a creature who is more creature than man as the love interest, while the villain is played by a muscular and  attractive Adonis, and yet Belle recognizes that the Beast truly has inner beauty and that Gaston is shallow and may be beautiful on the outside, but on the inside he is a hideous beast.  Then you have Quasimodo from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” where so many characters make such a big deal out of his physical appearance, when it should be the content of his character that should matter.  Even their more recent films like “Wreck It Ralph” and “Monsters Inc.” have an emphasis that looks can be deceiving.  Just because a person looks scary or mean on the outside doesn’t mean that they are a bad person on the inside.  This is an important life lesson to learn at an early age, and every now and then it’s nice to have this helpful reminder.

3.) Parents, your kids are going to make mistakes and that’s okay

You said it, Marlon
How many Disney films are there out there where the main character is told by their parents, don’t journey far from here because the world is scary and dangerous? I mean this is a subject that is brought in films like “Pinocchio” “The Little Mermaid”, “Aladdin”, and “Finding Nemo”, just to name a few.  Then what typically happens is the main character wanders off on their own, they run into some trouble, and they have to turn back to their parents for help, the parents say “I tried to warn you”, but the main character decides to give it another try and with the help of their parents face the challenges head on and they overcome their fears together. This is an important life lesson for not only kids, but adults.  So many parents are so afraid to let their children grow up because they know of dangers in the world that their kids don’t, and they want to protect them and keep them away from danger and trouble.  However, whenever the parents do this all it does is cause their kids to feel anxious, repressed, and rebellious, and drives them to take big dangerous risks.  Princess Jasmine ran away because all she’s ever seen and known in life is the inside of a palace, and she wanted to see the World (and avoid being forced to marry a man she didn’t love)  And what about Nemo?  He wanted to get away from his overprotective father Marlon and explore the big, blue ocean, and he got in to trouble, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it teaches another—equally important lesson—; actions have consequences.

4.) The Importance of exploring

Weeeeeee, Adventures in books! :)
Another important life lesson taught from Disney is exploring?  What’s the point of life if you don’t get a chance to explore, I mean look at the songs in Disney Films about wanting to see the world and want more from life like “Part of your World” from “The Little Mermaid” and “The First Time in Forever” from “Frozen” are two of the most iconic Disney Songs about wanting to explore.  And everyone from Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Princess Aurora, Rapunzel, and Princess Anna all expressed their desires to explore and see the world.  Life’s too short to stay cooped up in a palace for your entire life, so go out and see the world, and have adventures and make new friends.

5.) Life’s got you down?  Well then sing your freaking heart out! J

Are you upset because you feel like you let down your family and just want to be left alone to feel sorry for yourself?  Well there’s Disney a song for that...

Are you upset because you’re father wants you to be content with your life and forbids you from exploring??  Well there’s a Disney Song for that...

Have you ever been given a task to complete that seems utterly impossible?  Well there’s a Disney Song for that...

Have you ever felt like an outcast who will never find anyone who understands you?  Yes, there is a Disney Song for that too!

Disney is known for not only making some of the Best and Most Memorable films of All-Time, but they have also composed and performed some of the Best and Most Well Known songs of All-Time.  What person hasn’t taken Timon & Pumbaa’s “Hakuna Matata” philosophy to heart on those days where you just want to say f*ck it to everything?  And since 2013, there hasn’t been a woman between the age of 4-24 that hasn’t just randomly belted out that song for the hell of it!  This is probably the Best Advice Disney has ever given people; when life gets you down, don’t just sit there and sulk; get up, and sing your heart out until you feel better!