You never know where you’re going to learn the life lessons that stick with you the longest. To think you’re going to learn all that you need to in school or college is pretty short sighted. Truly, learning takes place throughout life, and the most valuable things you learn can come from the most unexpected of quarters.
I’m a single father which means on rainy days I watch more than my fair share of Disney movies. Now Disney may be a large corporation but there’s no denying the valuable life lessons crammed into their movies that can be taken on board even by the most cynical amongst us.
Here are ten I’ve taken to heart over the years.
10, Just keep swimming - Finding Nemo (2003)
Whatever life throws at you, don’t give up. There’s always a destination ahead. You just need to do as Dory does and just keep swimming.
9. Always let your conscience be your guide - Pinocchio (1940)
Given the mess Pinocchio got himself into, he really should have listened closer to the blue fairy that gave him life. However the advice is sound, always listen to the voice inside and not to those that would lead you into trouble.
8. How high does a sycamore grow? If you cut it down, you’ll never know - Pocahontas (1995)
Aside from the obvious environmental message from Disney’s favorite Native American, there’s a deeper message to be taken from this. If you don’t take things to their limits, you’ll never know what those limits could be. Don’t quit on a relationship or an idea before it’s reached its limits, or you’ll never know the beauty of where it could be.
7. You’re never too old to be young - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938)
Easy to say, not always so easy to put into practice. But there’s time in every day to enjoy having the kind of unfettered fun you had as a child if you try hard enough. Make some mischief.
6. I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then - Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Alice pretty much nailed it. There’s truly no going back in life. Once a door closes, move on. As much as you might treasure a memory, that’s all it is. You can’t experience it again for the first time because you aren’t the same person this time around, the experience changed you. Let’s face it though, one Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is enough for anyone.
5. The past can hurt. But you can either run from it or you can learn from it - The Lion King (1994)
Rafiki the monkey knew what he was talking about. What happened, happened. Let it haunt you or become better because of it.
4. Even miracles can take a little time - Cinderella (1950)
The Fairy Godmother could teach kids a thing or two about patience. It could also be applied to love, you might not always find your handsome prince at a ball, but he’s coming as fast as he can.
3. Whistle while you work - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938)
For the love of god don’t take this literally. It’s infuriating and will get you uninvited from the office Christmas party and unfriended on Facebook before you can utter 'bippity boppity boo!'
Just do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do.
2. The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up - Dumbo (1942)
Bless little Timothy Mouse. He’s totally right, whatever is holding you back, be it your job, your family, or your relationship, use it to propel you forward to something greater.
1. Let it go - Frozen (2013)
Oh Elsa, you had no idea what you started with this one did you? Kids everywhere throw this at their parents. You didn’t do your homework, ‘let it go Dad.’ You smacked your brother, ‘let it go Dad.’ You put the cat in the microwave, ‘let it go Dad.'
Letting go can be tough, but you have too to be happy.
Disney characters might sing and dance a lot but they also teach some important life lessons from their actions, lessons about friendship and courage and following your dreams that have served us well to this day.