â€œLife Lessonsâ€¦one Disney Movie Line at a time.â€
Relationships? Theyâ€™re difficult. Mainly because they take work â€“ at least, the important ones do. Sure, itâ€™s reasonably easy to be courteous to the pizza delivery driver or to thank your barista for that steaming macchiato. But the critical relationships, the ones that rock your world with their depth, breadth, and necessity â€“ those take effort. Making that effort is a conscious choice, one that implies commitment for the long haul.
Fundamental to human connection is support. As in any architectural structure, this is what helps humans form families and friendships. Disney has long understood our elemental craving for connection, and makes sure that in so many of its movies, that need for bonding is acknowledged.
Doc Hudson zeroes in: â€œI didnâ€™t come all this way just this way to see you quit,â€ he barks at a defeated Lightning McQueen in Pixar/Disneyâ€™s Cars. And that injection of humanity (or, perhaps, ZOOM-anity) is just what Lightning needs to pick himself up and smash through his own walls.
Whatâ€™s important here, I think, is that not only does Doc remind Lightning of his faith in Lightningâ€™s abilities, but of his strong connection to his friend. Doc tells Lightning that he has traveled a long distance to be part of the support group because Doc believes in Lightning and understands that even the slickest, sleekest racecar sometimes needs a crotchety old clunker to lend a helping heart.
These distances do not have to be geographical, mind you. They can be self-imposed boundaries that take courage to cross. When our loved ones are sick, for example, particularly with life-threatening or terminal illness, it is often easier to let those contacts slip away rather than face our own mortality and/or the rigors of disease. But it is at those times in particular that we need to bridge those distances, steel ourselves, and bring comfort to someone who needs it. This is the work of relationships; it is the â€œcoming all the way hereâ€ that makes us stronger as humans and forges unbreakable bonds with those we love.
Normally, I use this forum to offer an example from my own life as a child â€“ or as a parent â€“ and use a quotation from a Disney movie to shore up the lesson learned. In this entry, however, Iâ€™m offering you the option to develop your own takeaway, rather than asking you to assimilate mine.
What are your distances? What are your boundaries? I challenge you today to find and strengthen a connection with a loved one, going all the way there for somebody else. It is my hope that we, as human beings, will find the ability to connect with one another in the same way that these beloved characters do, and to be able to express that bond unequivocally and with great clarity.
There is no greater sadness than to wait until someone is gone to realize how much that connection meant â€“ and how that deep meaning should have or could have been expressed. Go the distance for someone else, and you will undoubtedly feel like a champion yourself.Â As Doc reminds us all, â€œThese are good folk around here who care about one another. I don’t want them depending on someone they can’t count on.â€ Let them depend on you.
Written by fellow Disney Mom & dear friend: Deborah B. Deborah is a proud member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. She is not a Disney employee. The postings on this site are her own and do not necessarily represent Disney’s positions or opinions.