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Disney’s influence cannot be understated. For almost 100 years, Walt Disney Animated Studios has brought us to countless adventures while imparting us with life-long lessons: from seeing the world through a magic carpet ride, to getting down to business to defeat the Huns, from learning Hakuna Matata (our problem-free philosophy!), to testing how far we’ll go to save our family and community.
These Disney films have been a significant part of our childhood, providing people of all ages (especially children) a reminder that the importance of imagination and that, at the end of the day, good always triumphs over evil. More than great family entertainment, here are the top reasons why watching Disney films could be good for your children:
The importance of Ohana
Disney characters are always faced with daunting challenges, but they always have someone to support them in their journey. Mulan had Mushu by her side, Aladdin had both Abu and the Genie for support, Sebastian always nagged on Ariel, Olaf provided smiles for Anna, Simba had both Timon and Pumba… the list goes on! It shows that our friends (or extended family) will always help us when things don’t go according to plan.
Apart from this, Disney films have always shown the importance of listening to our elders. When Pinocchio left his father, he got lost and was kidnapped; when Ariel didn’t listen to Triton, she risked her life by making a deal with the sea witch, Ursula. These instances educate our children to always keep themselves safe and to listen to their parents.
Although its early films featured predominantly Caucasian characters, Disney films became more multicultural and inclusive in recent years. More recent entries in the House of Mouse feature today’s more diverse society, from Mulan as a warrior in Ancient China to how a Polynesian princess Moana saved her island people. Disney has not only portrayed characters of different race, status and background- they also promote different storylines that go beyond typical romantic comedies, showing that love comes in all forms.
This might not be the easiest lesson to take from the movies, but if you watch closely, Disney shows features a variety of environmental problems. Monster’s Inc. is an apt metaphor for the fossil fuel industry; Wall-E delivers a stern warning on unbridled consumerism and how grave the consequences of our actions can be for future generations. Films of such storytelling calibre impact on children the importance of the environment for future generations: plant trees, recycle, save energy, etc.
Animals Deserve Love too!
Some films in the Disney library have also depicted animals as victims of human greed: Bambi’s mom was hunted down by a hunter, while the 101 Dalmatian puppies were set to be used as raw material for an overbearing coat. These classics show how cruel we can be to creatures and alternatively, how we can correct these mistakes.
It is no coincidence then that most of the sidekicks in Disney films are animals. The films themselves show how helpful and loving animals can be, if we only treat them right and give them the love and care they need. Throughout the films, they have given our heroes moral support, guidance or a way out of sticky situations. Studies have actually shown that if we have animals as companions, it reduces our risk of developing allergies. Owning pets or being around animals a lot can also improve a child’s behavior and increase a person’s quality of life.
They always Inspire Hope
More than enhancing our collective imagination, the biggest lesson we can get across all Disney films is to always have Hope. From making your dreams come true to overcoming insurmountable obstacles to lead better lives, Disney characters are known to fight for their happy endings. Life is hard sometimes and we deal with ‘monsters’ all the time: whether it’s poverty, an evil stepmother, or our own eccentricities, at the end of the day, Disney movies would like to tell us that life is not about despair. Rather, life is about the light at the end of the tunnel – and how it appears when we least expect it.
So while Disney may receive a lot of criticism for some of films, there is no doubt that they also give life and moral lessons to our kids. Watching Disney films give us a break from reality and afford us a chance to get lost in a world where anything is possible. Disney taught us that if we can dream, we can do it! And no matter what happens, we must make sure to hold on to hope and keep moving forward.
About the Author:
Anja is an enthusiast of life in constant pursuit of ventures and adventures.Please follow and like us: