“Life Lessons…one Disney Movie Line at a time.”
There comes a time in every person’s life when he or she stands at a crossroads and needs to make a decision. Do what’s right, or do what’s easy? Take responsibility or blame someone else? Do what’s expected and be satisfied or exceed expectations and be great! I think this is why Disney/Pixar’s “The Incredibles” is so appealing to me. Besides the fact that they wore really cool red suits when called to action as super heroes, each member of the Parr family was exceptional at something. Yet, to blend in, Helen Parr wants her son, Dash (who is a speed demon), to take it easy when racing other children as a normal child. This philosophy boils over when Mrs. Parr asks her husband if he will be attending the ceremony commemorating Dash’s ascension from 4th to 5th grade. This drives Mr. Incredible (aka Bob Parr) crazy, forcing him to lament, “They keep inventing new ways to celebrate mediocrity.” I mean, how true?!? Why do we celebrate when people achieve what should otherwise be expected. How many participation trophies can we give? How much self-esteem should we instill at the expense of actual achievement? The questions go on and on, yet the base sentiment is an important one. Mr. Incredible does not, even for one second, feel that it is inappropriate for his son to be great at something. Why can’t the rest of us catch on?
I have always taught my daughters to use their gifts from above, whether it’s a strong, mathematical brain or a strong, athletic body. They owe it to themselves to be able to look in the mirror and say, “Yeah, I did my best, and I can live with the result.” Obviously, the older children get, the easier it is to push this philosophy a bit harder. I’m not suggesting that we abandon teaching decency, and sportsmanship, and self-esteem, for these are invaluable traits to instill in our children. Rather, what I am saying is that it is OK to WIN once in a while. Must we water down everything? Or can we set the bar high and tell our children that even if they do not reach the bar, that we sure as heck expect them to TRY to reach for it. Regardless of the obstacles each of us has in life, it is vital that we see these obstacles as reasons for succeeding rather than as excuses for failing. I see examples every single day of both kids and adults who want to excel, and those who are simply putting in the minimum required effort. To me, the main difference between these two groups is not a lack of motivation per se, but rather, a lack of will. The will to work hard, the will to go the extra mile, the will to out-think and out-hustle everyone else, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it feels good. I do not know anyone worth their salt that doesn’t appreciate the grind towards success once they finally taste success…in whatever form that may be. We each define success differently, but the bottom line is, if you want to be mediocre, Mr. Incredible and I would appreciate it if you would use the slow lane of life…because we both have somewhere else to be…at the top!! See you there!
Written by fellow Disney Mom (Dad) & dear friend: Chris G. Chris is a proud member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. He is not a Disney employee. The postings on this site are his own and do not necessarily represent Disney’s positions or opinions.