Disney Movie Lines – Cinema Sunday: “You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me”

“Life Lessons…one Disney Movie Line at a time.”

Everyone needs a Genie in their life. I’m not talking about someone with magic powers that hides in a lamp and only shows up when you give them a back-rub. I mean that friend that you know you can call anytime, day or night, no matter what…and they’ll be there.

Aladdin and Genie. Photo credit: Disney

I’ve been blessed with quite a few “Genie” friends in my life. To this day, I’m still in touch with numerous childhood friends. Then there are those who I met when I lived out West for 10 years, several of which I keep in regular contact with. One is like the sister I never had. Since moving to the Cape 12 years ago, I have a large number of incredible people who I’m honored to call my friends. Then, there’s my Moms Panel friends, they too are there through thick and thin. Knowing that I have a few people in my life that I can call at 2:00am, and they’ll be by my side is priceless. However, it’s SO much more rewarding when they call me at that time. 😉 I strive to always be a Genie friend.

When my husband Steve built the kids a clubhouse back in 2001, I painted a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote inside it.  At the top of the stairs, for the kids to read just before heading down the slide, it said: “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” I’ve spent a lot of time through the years talking to my children about exactly what that quote means. They’ve discovered that there are “acquaintances”, who you say hello to when you see them, but you don’t spend any quality time with them. There are “surface friends” who act like your friend and then talk bad about you when you leave the room. There are “real friends”, who you play, hang out and chat on the phone with. Then, if you’re really lucky, you have a few “best (Genie) friends”, who you would do anything for and know, without a doubt, that they feel the same. Childhood has provided countless opportunities for valuable life lessons about friendship. The teen years are particularly tough. Heck, even as adults, we learn the difference between a real, true friend and someone who is just pretending.

In Disney’s Aladdin, the Genie started out by fulfilling Aladdin’s wishes because he had to. However, that changed quickly and it was clear that he had a big place in his heart for”Al”. Several times, Genie said to Aladdin, “You ain’t never had a friend like me“. The feeling ended up being quite mutual, and we saw Aladdin use his last wish to set Genie free.

School is starting up again in a few short weeks. My kids will each have their old friendships to lean on, and will also have the chance to develop some new ones. I want my kids to be the kind of people that their friends can count on through thick and thin, knowing they’ll always have their back. In return, I hope their friends are genuine and real to them too.  Ultimately, if I had a magic lamp, one of my wishes would be that my children become “Genie friends” and that they are surrounded by them in return.

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