Monday, June 21, 2010

A Lesson from P

My P is incredibly imaginative and creative. This is a wonderful characteristic that makes him a voracious reader. The down side, however, is that he gets completely swept up in a story and sudden plot twists (especially negative ones) upset him greatly. When you combine this with the fact that he is also very sensitive to music--especially foreboding, dark and scary music--it makes for a dramatic movie watching experience. 

Although I am careful to monitor what my children watch, even the mildest G rated film generally has some sort of villain. The first sign of darkness from the evil character causes P to panic. If the music is especially powerful, he is done.

Because this has been true of him for the duration of his video-watching life, I started reassuring him a couple of years ago not to worry, "the good guys always win." I didn't think through the long term implications at the time, I was just trying to reassure him through a scary couple of minutes so he would stick around to see the hero prevail. A few years later, he still freaks out when the plot gets challenging and I will hear him comfort himself with that mantra, "It's OK. Good guys always win. The good guys always win."

Because I am nothing if not an overthinker, I started wondering if this was the right message for my boy. Generally, in movies, the hero comes through, the main characters are spared a difficult outcome and evil is defeated. In life, it is not always so. Or is it? 

As a Christian, I believe that ultimately God does win. Satan is vanquished for eternity. In day-to-day life it doesn't always seem so.

This afternoon we went to see Toy Story 3. (I could write another whole post on how much I LOVED it--so many great themes. It even led to a great conversation on the way home about the villain and how 'meanness has a history.') At the critical part of the plot when all hope seemed to be lost P started freaking out.
"I want to leave. I don't want to stay. I want to leave." He repeated over and over.
We could have left. I was with a sweet friend who could have stayed with my children--but I wanted to teach him a lesson.
I put him in my lap and rocked him through the scariest scene, whispering, "It will all be Ok in the end. You'll see. Stick with me. It will all be Ok in the end, I promise."
I must have repeated that a dozen times.

As I did I thought of God's assurance to us, His children, through the difficult, frightening scenes of our life.
"It will all be Ok in the end. You'll see. Stick with me. It will all be Ok in the end, I promise."
I don't think it is at all a stretch. He is our Father, our Comforter, who is with us. He quiets us. He wants us to trust Him enough to not run for the exit when things get scary. He wants us to rest in the shelter of His arms and trust Him that good does triumph over evil in the end. 

I thought of this David Wilcox song.

Look, if someone wrote a play just to glorify
What's stronger than hate, would they not arrange the stage
To look as if the hero came too late, he's almost in defeat
It's looking like the Evil side will win, so on the Edge 
Of every seat, from the moment that the whole thing begins
It is....

Love that mixed the mortar
And it's love who stacked these stones
And it's love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we're alone
In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it's love that wrote this play...
For in this darkness love can show the way

So now the stage is set.  You feel your own heart beating
In your chest.  This life's not over yet.

-Show the Way by David Wilcox

Who knew a Pixar film could inspire such thought? And people think Moms don't get to use their brains! :-)


Wendy said...

I am guessing you don't see too many Asian films-the hero almost always dies--it took me a few Asian movies to realize this...I think a lot of it is actually do to our Christian heritage versus other religions (especially Eastern) where redemption and the triumph of good is not a normal assumption. I'm not saying you should skip the Asian movie experience all together, but perhaps when the kids are older it makes for some more good discussion. (Also, good to be prepared yourself-I was quite shocked the first time I saw the "hero" die, and then the movie was over). Good luck, I love reading the antics of your kids, and your desire to teach them godliness in the midst of everything. I'm currently pregnant with my first, and you provide a lot of encouragement-thanks from So. Cal.!!!! =)

Traci said...

We just returned home from seeing it- EVERYONE loved it- the 10 year olds and the too cool 13 year-old. You're right- so many wonderful themes. Glad it turns out in the end!

S said...

Today, I needed to hear this for my own life. Thanks for the post. Give that P a squeeze from me!

Peter and Nancy said...

I heard this song for the first time at our church this year -- it's one of my new favorites. One of my sons is so like your P . . . and he also loves to say that "we know God wins."

Just Terrific said...

My husband and I went to see TS3 Saturday night. I really loved it but, oh my, it was hard to take. I remember thinking how some of scenes were a little dark for Disney/Pixar. At one point, we both were ready to sob out loud!! At a Disney movie!!! It just so happens our youngest (emphasize YOUNGEST) just graduated from high school and is going to college. It just hit a little too close to home. Bless little P's tender heart. I hate the scary parts, too and miss them being small enough to hold on my lap.