Our house, like so many others, has been inundated with the Disney phenomenon that is the movie Frozen. My son learned how to make a tick-tock sound with his tongue before he learned how to talk. However, after many viewings and even more sing-a-longs, rather than tire of it, I feel like I’m finally seeing it for the deep and powerful parable that it is.
The multitude of valuable lessons this story offers up makes me more than happy to pop it in whenever it’s requested these days. Because, like any truly powerful storytelling, the magic comes in hearing these messages again and again…
WE have options no matter what life throws at us
We start with two young girls, the epitome of innocence, who are thrust in to the path of unexpected and unavoidable circumstances, better known as the hero’s journey. They both represent two options for dealing with the fickle hand of fate: find what joy you can and roll with the punches, or shut-down and put walls up.
Up until now Cinderella had always been my favorite Disney Princess for her “take life with a grain of salt and don’t lose faith” attitude, but Anna has been moving rapidly up the list. I love that my children are seeing first-hand where not dealing with your problems can lead: pain, fear, and isolation.
We are all in this together, so let’s act like a team
I have a new-found fondness for trolls, not least because of their selfless act of raising an apparently orphaned Kristoff and not making a big deal about the adoption. In fact, the only characters in the whole movie who are not treated with respect are those who have proven that they don’t deserve it through their own actions. Apart from Olaf (who isn’t known for his smarts) referring to Sven as a big dumb animal, there are no derogatory remarks or outcasts in the film. I love Disney, but they have a long history of pegging one group against another (Lions vs. Hyenas, Mermen vs. Humans, Beast vs. Villagers, etc.). It’s so refreshing to see a film where a King goes to a troll for help. It really is!
No, You don’t have to put a ring on it
The more children’s programming geared toward young girls that I watch, the more I notice the prevailing theme that getting married is somehow still your main prerogative in life. Historically, Disney has been no different. I have actually felt moved to say, after my daughter squeals with delight at a movie wedding kiss, “There is a lot more living that happens after that kiss! Remember that!”
Nobody gets married in Frozen! Nobody! And the only kiss that happens is after Kristoff asks Anna if he may kiss her. The only way I could like this relationship more is if he insisted she follow her dream of law school before they start talking about having a family.
You are going to play the fool
Anna gets duped. It happens. You are not always going to be the clever person who avoids the grift. It sucks, it really does. But, when it happens, you feel sad and then you shake it off and get on with the important work of focusing on the people who are truly important in our lives. Then, when the work is done, everyone is safe and the opportunity presents itself. Punch your failure in the face (metaphorically speaking, you’ve wised up). That punch got a huge cheer in the movie theater when we went to see Frozen the first time and my daughter and I actually high-fived each other… storytelling at its best!
Love is the answer
Love, respect, support, caring — however you package it, we need more of it. When we have love and we give love we are happier, less stressed, healthier and more productive. Yet, most of all, we need to love ourselves! We need to not only be kinder to ourselves, but we need to step up and LOVE ourselves. When we live in fear we are crippled by it. It’s unhealthy to hold in who you are simply because you are afraid of what others will think. When it came down to it, the people of Arendelle were all really accepting of Elsa’s powers. Sure, they were freaked out at first but they got over it and then they all got back to the business of living!
Let it go!
This one is especially good for the parents. Let it go. Yes, there are a million things to do, and no you probably haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in the last decade or so. But that doesn’t mean you can’t relax for a second and enjoy a belly laugh with your kids. Your child may not have a Pinterest-perfect birthday party, and they may go to school dressed in outfits that would have been more appropriate for the Punky Brewster era, but who cares? Your Frozen-crazed kids are going to be angsty coffee-drinking college kids before you know it, so drop your hang-ups and belt it out right along with ’em…” THE COLD NEVER BOTHERED ME ANYWAY!”
Okay, we know you have some… so what were YOUR Frozen life lessons?