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Life According To Disney Movies

By: john weirick

I was raised on a viewing diet of flying carpets, talking animals, and catchy songs sung by animated characters. You probably were, too.

Few of us made it through childhood without Disney being part of our lives. Films from The Walt Disney Company became an important part of our early years and some of us have now introduced our children to them. But maybe we’ve noticed things as adults that our childhood selves never saw in Disney movies.

Because all truth is God’s truth, we want to celebrate what’s good and point out what can be better in stories, no matter whose stories they are. (That’s why we talk about movies in church.)

You may find a lot to love or a lot to critique. Though each movie is different, several common themes emerge from Disney’s work.

Two Lessons and Three Myths Disney Movies Teach About Life

Lesson #1: Family matters.

Relationships with parents, siblings, and friends take center stage in most Disney movies. Many characters are missing one or both of their parents, but that doesn’t stop them from building family-type relationships with other characters (101 Dalmatians, The Fox and the Hound, Lilo & Stitch).

God created family and friends to provide for each other and get through hard times together (1 Timothy 5:8, Proverbs 17:17). And when we take next steps following Jesus together, we’re like a family that helps each other grow (Matthew 12:50).

Lesson #2: Humor is essential.

Every kind of story is made better with comedic relief (Frozen, Aladdin, The Emperor’s New Groove, Mulan).

Even Jesus used humor to connect with people and communicate ideas (Matthew 23:24, Luke 6:41). Laughter is important for all of us, like medicine for our souls (Proverbs 17:22).

Myth #1: Childhood is superior to adulthood.

Children are the main audience for Disney films and they’re often the central characters, too. Youthful energy and imagination is glamorized, but often to the detriment of adult wisdom and responsibility (Peter Pan, The Lion King).

We’re meant to grow and mature, not stay the same. If we romanticize the good old days behind us, we’ll never step into the greater things God always has planned for us to do and to experience. We can celebrate youthful wonder and imagination while still taking full responsibility as adults (1 Corinthians 13:11).

Myth #2: Dreams always come true.

We’re told if we follow our heart, we’ll be happy and accomplish everything we want and our hopes will always become reality (Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Princess and the Frog).

It’s tempting to only do what feels good or easy, but God wants more for us than fairy tales.

It’s tempting to only do what feels good or easy, but God wants more for us than fairy tales. Dreaming and working toward something can be good when it’s something God leads us toward, not just our own desire to be successful or happy.

If we only listen to ourselves to figure out what to do with our lives (Pinocchio, Brave), we’ll miss out on the far better ways God has in store (Isaiah 55:7-9). Rather than trusting in ourselves to make our own destiny, we can trust God because He sees the big picture (Proverbs 3:5-8).

Myth #3: Romantic love will fulfill you.

In the Disney universe, life seems to be about finding your mate. Princesses are meant to find their princes and live happily ever after (The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled, Frozen).

However, there’s a lot more to romance than emotions, status, and being happy. (We posted more about this here.)

Movies can be great forms of art and entertainment, yet Jesus always invites us to see that He is the center of truth.

Find more about Jesus and the truth by reading the Bible.

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