Three lessons Moana taught me

One of the things my wife and I ponder about, is the minimal age at which we will allow our children to watch TV. Finally, we decided that we can start exposing our children to TV content when they are one year old – not plain stupid TV time-killing shows, but high-end educational documentaries. You know. Disney.

Toddlers love routine, and my 2 years old son, Yoav, is not different. We are watching a lot of Disney movies, together. June (yes, the whole of it), for example, was dedicated to Aladdin. July is totally dedicated to Moana.

In the past couple weeks, Yoav and I watched Moana over 10 times, and I have to admit that there are some moments during which I almost shed a tear. This tear-shedding ritual usually happens around 06:15 in the morning, because Yoav is an early bird. I am not shedding tears because my sleeping hours were robbed by a 2 years old toddler, but because Moana is a well-made movie, that doesn’t hesitate to touch sensitive topics, such as coping with the death of a family member, the internal drive to fulfill our dreams despite what others might say, and the way a meaningful figure in a child’s life helps her to explore her potential.

Here are the top 3 lessons Moana taught me:

The ocean helps only those who help themselves

Moana decides that she is not going to give up several times during the movie. In these exact moments, and only after she exhausted resources available to her, the ocean steps forward and helps her.

For example, when Maui steals Moana’s boat, she jumps into the water, missing the boat completely and Maui just sails away without her. Only after that she starts to swim after the disappearing boat, the ocean helps her and pushes her into the boat.

I found out that this is exactly how life works.

Begging for help, without doing the effort, won’t bear fruits. Start pursuing your goals – this is the only way to meet people who will help you with that.

Moana starts swimming after the boat, and only then the ocean helps her.

An adult who believes in a child and supports her, is making the difference between a child that learns how to fulfill a dream, and one that just dreams

Moana has a lot of weight on her shoulders. She is the daughter of the village chief, and one day will replace him. She disagrees with her father about how to deal with the fish and fruit shortage problem, however the solution she proposes seems very childish: to sail across the reef (something almost no one has done before), endanger herself, and force a mythological figure that likely doesn’t exist at all, help her save her island. Moana’s father does not accept the plan.

Luckily, Moana’s grandmother comes to help, pushing Moan to ask questions, learn more about the history of her people and believe in herself. Finally, because her grandmother believes in her, Moana goes on to her lifetime adventure and fulfills her destiny.

An adult who believes in a child, makes the child want to find answers to essential questions. Moana’s song, “I wish I could be a perfect daughter, but I keep coming back to the water”, teaches us that many times we, the parents, stand between our children and their dreams.

The most difficult thing we, the parents, have to be able to do, is to step aside and let our children grow.

There are no evil people, just people in a crisis

Well, this is obviously not an absolute truth. There are some really evil motherf**kers on the globe, but there are very few of them. Most people behave like assholes, because they experience some sort of a crisis.

Maui is just that. He is a self-adoring ego-maniac, who thinks only about himself and is not willing initially to help Moana. Te Kā is another character controlled by internal rage, that just wants to kill everything she sees.

Moana realizes Te Kā is Te Feti, the goddess of life, those heart was stolen by Maui, and she needs to risk getting burnt alive, to return Te Feti her heart.

We need to teach our children to take leaps of faith and trust people, but also give them tools to identify foul play.

Moana is a movie for children, with deep messages for us, the adults. If you want to see a movie about overcoming challenges, the ability to forgive and pursuing dreams – watch Moana.

Not necessarily at 06:15 in the morning.

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