Walking through the department store I noticed yet another Disney doll on the shelves, unusually a Polynesian looking one. This was my first clue to the new Moana movie. I’m not a huge Disney fan, but I have to say Disney knocked this one out of the park. I laughed (hard), I cried, but most of all I was totally inspired.
“That was a big movie – and a big message – for a little girl” I said to my 6-year-old. It was great, a real ‘follow your heart, face adversity, and you will overcome and triumph’ theme.
It’s the story of life really, except too many of us get totally put off by the adversity part. Do you ever find yourself making a resolution to change, then adversity hits and you use it as an excuse to keep yourself in a place you really don’t want to be?
Moana kept feeling called to the sea, her father kept telling her it was too dangerous, it wasn’t for their people. “Fear will be your enemy” to steal a quote from another amazing Disney movie that teaches “love is the power that can overcome fear”.
Fear is something we know a lot about, we get taught from day dot to ‘be careful’, that some version of doom will befall us if we don’t follow our parents’/school’s/society’s instructions. Threats and bribes are common parenting tools, I know, I use them all too often.
Yet, in truth, if you are acting (or more likely not acting) out of fear, you can pretty much bet it’s not in your best interests. Talking to another parent this week, she was telling me that her 2-year-old asked what ‘free’ her sister’s friend was. She was referring to the commonplace gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and so on mix of dietary preferences that proliferate these days.
Disney often gets criticized for creating body mage issues with their weirdly caricature main characters (who look more like aliens to me these days with their disproportionately large and strangely shaped eyes). Yet, it was in talking to one of her ‘free’ friends that my 6-year-old repeated to me that if she eats a certain type of food she’ll get fat.
There is validity in all of the choices people are making about diets, or anything else, but if those choices are being made from fear rather than inspiration, what message is that sending?
Having young children, I am surrounded by parents who – like me - are trying to make the right decisions for their children, to do what is right. Perhaps we are overthinking it, and trying to make decisions for them is the downfall.
One of the most primal tools we arrive with on this planet is our ability to discern what we like and don’t like, we know what is good for us. The heart wants what it wants for good reason, because happiness is the name of this game called life.
We want our children to be happy, to be healthy and to be safe. It’s to this end we set about micromanaging every detail of their life instead of trusting they might know a thing or two about what is best for them.
Many really believe that children cannot know what is best for them. It’s no wonder when that that message is the one we have been brainwashed with generation after generation.
I used to tell my daughter “my number one priority is to keep you safe”. Nowadays I balk at the memory. Of course I don’t want doom to befall my kids, but I also know in trying to keep them ‘safe’ I am just thwarting their growth, keeping them from the freedom that they know is rightly theirs.
My children attend a Waldorf school, which comes with a whole philosophy behind it courtesy of Rudolph Steiner. The ‘rules’ are interpretations of Steiner’s teaching in the modern day. There are many things I love about the school, not least the passion of those that teach there and the relative freedom my children have to learn in a way and at a pace I feel is more aligned with all I know about child development.
However, most parents angst over the rules and philosophies and how to reconcile them with our families and cultural norms, we also angst over the many ‘frees’ and what that means for any social occasion, we angst over technology and its effects on the brain and socialization. Parenting could in fact by defined by the adjective angst.
Yet despite our childhoods being less than perfect, here we are still breathing, living, figuring things out. In any moment we can make choices that will result in a happy and successful life. Perhaps we need to loosen up a little.
I attended a traditional school in a concrete jungle. We had corporal punishment, we had no clue that there was any grain except wheat, we snacked on boxes of glucose powder at sports events, we thought oil would run out before the end of the millennium, and we thought Elton John was straight. We had strange ideas about the world by today’s standards, but hey, we are here.
Damaged? Sure, but nothing that was beyond repair. Nothing is irretrievable. I’d like to limit the damage to my kids, but really, was there anything I endured that hasn’t made me a better, more knowledgeable, more compassionate person today?
I’m not saying we should be deliberately irresponsible. I am saying, we all know what is in our own heart (our kids included). Just listen to those who face death, the number one regret of the dying is not truly living. Not taking the risks, not following their dreams, too much listening to all the people around them.
We each are born with different dreams, different talents and gifts. This is what keeps the whole whole, it’s the diversity – and the adversity – that creates the richness life has to offer.
Yes there are times we create a ridiculous amount of what could be viewed as unnecessary adversity for ourselves. If we had faith and belief in our own abilities we would indeed create our desired outcomes faster. However, no matter how much faith and belief you have, you will still face adversity. Think about it, it is necessary for you to grow.
Let 2017 be the year you lock in on what is in your heart, that you help others to do the same without judgment. Expect good things to happen and, at the same time, trust that if adversity shows up it is there to help you. Listen closely to your heart; let love, passion and inspiration - not fear - be the things that guide you to your best life.
Knowing I’ve helped in some way through my writing means a lot - I’d love for you to like, comment on, or share these thoughts with others, or contact me directly at email@example.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You.
By signing up you will only receive emails from shonakeachie.com and you can unsubscribe at any time. This is a two-step process, you will have to verify your subscription by clicking the link in the email you should receive after clicking this 'Subscribe' button. If you do not receive the email please check your Junk mail, thank you.
Please note if you are using the Google Chrome browser and want to subscribe to the RSS Feed you will first need to get an RSS plugin from the Chrome Store.