Twenty five years ago, an animated classic was born alongside a little lion cub called Simba. Now we get to see it – and our beloved Africa – in a more realistic way, thanks to this year’s remake of The Lion King.
The Lion King is one of the most powerful Disney films of all time because of the emotional journey that it takes viewers on. It’s got love, death, fear, connection, success, and pride – amongst others. For many children, this is the first time they’ll see and experience these complicated emotions.
Many of us saw the film when we were kids ourselves. Now we’re grown and taking our children to see it. Here are six life lessons The Lion King talks about, and how we can help our little ones experience these big emotions in a healthy way.
1. Not Everyone Is Kind
It was less than 10 minutes into the film when my two daughters saw Scar on the big screen and immediately disliked him. In the remake he looks awful next to the regal Mufasa. Scar is selfish, greedy, unfaithful, and downright evil.
This is a great chance to teach children that there are many wonderful people in the world, but there are also lots of dangerous people.
2. It’s About Being Safe, Not Brave
Mufasa gives Simba a strong warning when the little guy heads to a forbidden area despite being told to stay out of there. Simba should have listened to his father’s orders even in the face of peer pressure to do otherwise. It’s not as though Mufasa was trying to control Simba, he was keeping him safe – which is a parent’s number 1 job.
Simba ended up learning that you can still be brave without inviting in potential danger. Mufasa teaches this to his son. We can also teach our kids that being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble.
3. The Circle of Life
Simba’s father says, “Death happens. It’s okay, it’s a part of life”. We all go on to shedding a bucketload of tears when Mufasa dies. Simba learned though that while it hurts like heck, death is part of life.
The Lion King lets us experience the full circle of life, and we do that with our children too. Let kids celebrate the birth of other babies in the community. Let them see and learn about marriage (my girls love looking at photos of me in my “marrying dress” and trying on my rings). And the grief that comes with death is a very real and deep emotion that they should be allowed to experience and learn from.
4. Forgiveness is Key
Simba lives much of his life blaming himself for his father’s death. But it wasn’t his fault, and you don’t get anywhere by feeling sorry for yourself.
I think it’s human nature to screw up and let that mistake hold you back, too. But regret hurts. What we need to remember is that we need to let go, forgive ourselves, and move on. What’s in the past is in the past.
5. Childhood Dreams Can Come True
When Simba’s young he can’t wait to rule his own kingdom. But things don’t go to plan and he runs away from his life and dreams.
Childhood is a time to explore and learn about life and its possibilities. As we grow up we start to chase steady income and what we “should do” instead of what we’re passionate about.
Your kids might not grow up to be mermaids, but they can be the teachers, pilots, firefighters, doctors, and parents that they dream of.
Simba forgets his dreams but gets a powerful wake-up call from his childhood friends. We can be those supporters for our kids.
6. Running Away Doesn’t Solve Anything
Simba spends so much time living on the run. He grows up lonely and insecure because he’s scared to go back and challenge Scar.
Thanks to wonderful friends, he bounces back. Timon and Puma give Simba the companionship he needs after Mufasa’s death.
And eventually Simba learns one of the most valuable lessons of all: you CAN face your fears. When Simba stops being afraid to go home, he learns that it’s never too late to turn things around.
We can help our children know that home will always be a safe place for them. We love them unconditionally and will always support them to have their needs met. When they grow older we can help them, if what they need is independence and to live away from us. But they’re welcome home any time.
See The Lion King With Your Family
In today’s day and age, there are many things and people trying to get us down. We can’t let them. Let’s use The Lion King to teach us – and our precious little ones – that we can overcome any challenge life throws our way, if we don’t let worries overwhelm us.
If you haven’t seen the remake of The Lion King yet, come and see it with Family Gems at New Capital Cinemas Acacia. For the first time in Gaborone we’re hosting two kid-friendly showing, with lower sound and higher lights to make it safer for families. There are two shows: Thursday 1 August and Saturday 3 August.
If you’ve seen the remake of The Lion King, let us know in the comments below what your favourite parts are.
Header Courtesy of SketchPort – raymondsanti