By Archana Patrick and John Tan
No one can deny that Disney movies are awesome! Whether you are 6 or 36, Disney movies are nostalgic and embody a special part of our childhood. The amazing life lessons interwoven in each film continues to captivate generation after generation of viewers to be loyal fans of the franchise.
Here are some all-time favourite Disney characters that have taught us profound lessons over the years!
1. Tiana, ‘The Princess and the Frog’
Success is all about hard work
Unlike her childhood friend, Charlotte La Bouff, Tiana wasn’t born with a silver spoon. In fact, she had to work very hard to accomplish her dreams of owning her own restaurant. Before turning into a frog, Tiana was busy working two jobs simultaneously to save money for her restaurant.
While her peers were worried and doubted her, she kept her priorities straight and continued to believe in herself. Tiana got the last laugh in the end when she managed to open her own restaurant – “I remember daddy told me ‘fairy tales can come true.’ But you’ve got to make them happen, it all depends on you!”
2. Rapunzel, ‘Tangled’
Get out of your comfort zone, the rewards may be worth it!
Since she was a toddler, Rapunzel never left the tower as she was never allowed to venture outside. Despite the scary claims and let downs, Rapunzel always dreamed of exploring the world outside. She knew all along that great things were bound to happen if she ventured beyond her comfort zone.
As American author, Karen Salmansohn, once said – “The best things in life are often waiting for you at the exit ramp of your comfort zone.”
3. Belle, ‘Beauty and the Beast’
Dare to be different
Belle always had a mind of her own. Despite coming from a village, Belle valued education and focused on improving her intellectual skills. While the other girls in her village would kill to marry Gaston, Belle passed on this opportunity as she had bigger dreams for herself.
In the song, ‘Provincial life’, she expressed her intention of breaking free from the monotony she was living in – “There must be more to this provincial life.”
Belle’s individuality and courage is also seen when she took it upon herself to save her father. Even though, the villagers were afraid of facing the beast, Belle challenged the beast to let her father go.
After all, standing out isn’t a bad thing! Embrace your individuality because it is also what makes you special.
4. Pocahontas, ‘Pocahontas’
Pocahontas is the bold daughter of Chief Powhatan, the leader of a Native American tribe. Her character was the first Disney character to be based on an actual person!
Pocahontas reflects on how the river is anything but steady – “he wants me to be steady like the river, but it’s not steady at all.” In essence, life embodies change and to move forward in life. we need to embrace these changes. Accordingly, we need to change our minds and our desires to as we ride the waves of life.
5. Mulan, ‘Mulan’
Believe in yourself
Mulan is pretty much a lady boss! She challenges societal roles and expectations of a woman. Even though, she was the only woman in the military, Mulan didn’t see this as a disadvantage. Instead she was willing to prove her abilities as a woman. While she struggled in the beginning to keep up with her fellow male counterparts, she refused to give up.
She would often train at night while the rest were sleeping. This eventually led her to succeed at various archery challenges. Her hard work and grit was also rewarded when she managed to get herself up on a massively tall pole. This was a huge achievement as she was the first to do so.
6. Aladdin, ‘Aladdin’
Although being a thief doesn’t make Aladdin the perfect role model, he displayed empathy and kindness to the underprivileged. For instance, in numerous occasions, Aladdin was seen sharing the food he stole from the market with the children of Agrabah who were starving.
Aladdin also had a positive outlook on life. Despite being poor, he never failed to find joy in little things, especially during his adventures with Abu, his cheeky sidekick!
7. Peter Pan, ‘Peter Pan’
“It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret of happiness.”
Peter Pan has always been known as the boy who never wanted to grow up. Among many of his famous quotes, the one above, teaches us the secret to happiness is living in the moment. Enjoy whatever you are doing now and appreciate it!
Comparing yourself with others and their achievements or experiences or even living in the past, will make you miserable.
Rather than waiting for that dream job, always find happiness in whatever you are doing now – it will definitely give you a reason to smile!
8. Hercules, ‘Hercules’
Hercules is well known for his physical strength and self-confidence. Hercules had to perform a rite of passage on Earth to prove himself worthy of living with the gods on Mount Olympus.
The young and scrawny Hercules had to train hard to eventually become the hero that he was with a good support system. No matter how bad things look, don’t quit! All heroes face challenges, only failures quit!
9. Pinocchio, ‘Pinocchio’
Lying never gets you anywhere
Pinocchio’s ever growing nose shows us that lying never gets you anywhere and such lies will obviously come back to haunt you! Eventually, you would end up in a big mess! To lead a good life, don’t lie!
And last but not least…
10. Rafiki, ‘The Lion King’
Don’t let your past dictate your future
There are many valuable lessons to learn from The Lion King. The ultimate nugget of wisdom is from the wise baboon, Rafiki to Simba – “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”
Life is an adventure and bad things tend to happen sometimes – all you can do is learn from it and keep moving forward! (#Hakunamatata)
*Featured image sourced from San Diego Entertainer Magazine