We had on The Incredibles the other night and I was stuck by a crazy thought. Bob Parr, as incredible as he is as a super hero, is actually more endearing as a dad. When he’s playing catch with his son or hugging his daughter, there’s a certain gleam in his eyes that you don’t get when he’s fighting crime.
I’m not trying to be sappy here. I’m not. I’m just making an observation.
That made me think. Of course that’s how it comes across. Pixar movies are made primarily by parents who live in the world world. They know firsthand the trials and joys of parenthood. And it comes across crystal-clear in their films.
Finding Nemo is perhaps the most obvious one, and possibly the best father/son movie ever made. It reminds us as parents not to take our kids for granted, because they can be taken from us at any moment. And that’s a reality made even more clear as foster to adopt parents.
Actually, Pixar movies even make us closer to our kids just by their mere existence. My son and I bonded when I took him to see The Good Dinosaur last year for his birthday. Sure, he couldn’t talk yet, but it was an experience we got to share together that we’ll always have. It was fun!
It’s not like going to the latest installment of Ice Age (not Pixar) where, as a grown-up, I’d likely fall asleep.
Pixar films are brightly colored adult movies that just happen to be appropriate for kids. It would be inappropriate for me to gather our kids on the couch to watch Apocalypto, but it’s far from a sacrifice to snuggle with my daughter and watch Brave for the eightieth time.
Most Pixar movies appeal to us as parents. They show us the world through our own children’s point of view so that we can better understand them and better parent them.
I can’t count the number of times I put the computer away to play with my kids because Inside Out reminded me that my kids will always remember these days. It’s my job to make their memories yellow/gold. Not blue. So I chase them around the house pretending to be Bruce the shark or Mor’du.
Woody couldn’t have said it any better: “I can’t stop Andy from growing up, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
That’s a haunting and encouraging reminder. But multiple viewings of Toy Story 2 has implemented that message in my head permanently. And then, of course, the next Toy Story installment screams out: “No, seriously! Your kids are going to grow up really, really fast! Don’t bloody miss it! Don’t miss it! Don’t miss it!”
Don’t throw your daughter’s bow in the fire. Don’t tell your kids to act happy when everything sucks. Buy your kids lots of toys (not video games). Go on road trips and put the brake on at rest stops. Don’t lose your temper over their limitations. Don’t try to convince them that a rock is a seed. Teach them to slow down. Cross the ocean if you have to to find them. Your kids are your greatest adventure. Teach them to cook!
I’m not an expert parent and will never claim to be. But Pixar movies have been a better parenting resource than any psychology book I can think of.
Have a happy Father’s Day and take your kids to see Finding Dory. Or buy them a bunch of toys. Make today about the kids, because without them, there would be no Father’s Day.