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16 Inspiring Movies To Watch With Children

16 Inspiring Movies To Watch With Children

These hit movies all have powerful messages that teach children how to make good choices, how to find their moral compass, and how to do and be the very best they can. It’s nice to know that companies like Disney and Pixar are sending the same messages we want our children to hear. And we all know that kids hear it better when it doesn’t come from mom or from dad. Enjoy watching these movies together.

Mulan:  Never give up.

Mulan is a young maiden who learns that her  father is to be called up into the army. Knowing that he would never survive the rigors of war in his state, she decides to disguise herself and join in his place.

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    “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

    The Lion King: Learn from your mistakes.

    A young heir to the throne learns to balance responsibility with fun through the trial and error and makes some wonderful friends along the way.

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      “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.”

       Cinderella: Patience is a virtue

      After her father unexpectedly dies, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother Despite her circumstances, she refuses to despair. An invitation to a palace ball gives Ella hope that she might reunite with the dashing stranger  she met in the woods, but her stepmother prevents her from going. Help arrives in the form of a kindly beggar woman who has a magic touch for ordinary things.

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        “Even miracles take a little time.”

        Aladdin: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

        Aladdin is a street-urchin who lives in a large and busy town long ago with his faithful monkey friend Abu. When Princess Jasmine gets tired of being forced to remain in the palace, she sneaks out and accidentally meets Aladdin.  Aladdin is thrown in jail and becomes caught up in Jafar’s plot to rule the land with the aid of a mysterious lamp. Legend has it that only a person who is a “diamond in the rough” can retrieve the lamp from the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin might fit that description.

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          “Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what outside, but what is inside that counts.”

          Lilo and Stitch: We take care of one another.

          Experiment 626 is banned from his own planet and accidentally ends up on earth where he is adopted by 2 sisters who have lost their parents. Learning that family is in your heart not your genes is only part of this touching but humorous film.

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            “Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind.”

            Finding Nemo: Don’t get stuck in the past- keep moving forward.

            A single Dad clown fish loses his son, Nemo when he ventures into the open sea. Nemo is caught by a diver and sent to a dentist’s office in Sydney. While Nemo’s father ventures off to try to retrieve his son hen meets a fish named Dory, suffering from short-term memory loss. The companions travel a great distance, encountering various dangerous sea creatures in order to rescue Nemo from the dentist’s office,

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              “When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming!”

              Ratatouille: It’s not where you came from that matters, it’s where you are going.

              A rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great French chef despite his family’s wishes. Despite the apparent dangers of being an unlikely – and certainly unwanted – visitor in the kitchen of a fine French restaurant, Remy’s passion for cooking soon sets into motion a hilarious and exciting rat race that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.

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                “You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.”

                Pinocchio: Trust your own judgement.

                Gepetto creates a wooden marionette called Pinocchio. A fairy grants his wish for Pinocchio to be a real boy. The fairy assigns Jiminy Cricket to act as Pinocchio’s “conscience” and keep him out of trouble. Jiminy is not too successful in this.

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                  “Always let your conscience be your guide.”

                  The Incredibles: Be present.

                  Mr. Incredible and his wife were the world’s greatest  crime-fighting superheroes fifteen years ago.  Today they have been forced to adopt civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs where live a “normal life” with their three children Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack (who were secretly born with superpowers). Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top secret assignment.

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                    “I never look back darling, it distracts from the now.”

                    Wreck-It-Ralph: Love yourself

                    Wreck-It Ralph longs to be as beloved as his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix. Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy.Ralph sees a chance to be a hero. He sneaks into a game with a simple plan — win a medal — but soon wrecks everything, and accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade.But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it’s “Game Over” for the entire arcade?

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                      “There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”

                      Phineas & Ferb– The only limits are the limits of your imagination

                      Perry’s dual life as a secret agent is discovered but when the brother’s and their friends team up to help Perry, no problem is too big to solve.

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                        “The only thing that is impossible is impossibility.”

                        Kung Fu Panda– Stress and fear make tasks more difficult to accomplish

                        LA lazy panda, named Po, who is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around is unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po’s dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols. Po puts his heart – and his girth – into the task, and the unlikely hero ultimately finds that his greatest weaknesses turn out to be his greatest strengths.

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                          “Anything is possible when you have inner peace.”

                          Turbo– If you believe it, you can achieve it.

                          Turbo is a snail who dares to dream big – and fast. An accident infuses him with the power of super-speed, Turbo kicks things up a gear and heads on an extraordinary journey. With the help of his streetwise snail crew, this ultimate underdog puts his heart and shell on the line to prove that no dream is too big, and no dreamer too small.

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                            “No dream is too big and no dreamer is too small.”

                             The Land Before Time– Take time each day to listen to your inner voice.

                            When Littlefoot is separated from his mother during an earthshake he finds four unlikely friends who overcome many obstacles together to find his grandparents and the green valley.

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                              “Let your heart guide you. It whispers so listen closely.”

                              Wall-E– Do what you need to to feel truly happy.

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                                “I don’t want to survive, I want to live.”

                                Shrek– There’s more to a person than what you see on the surface.

                                When a green ogre named Shrek discovers his swamp has been taken over by fairytale creatures of the scheming Lord Farquaad, Shrek sets out, with an unlikely friend, Donkey, to convince Farquaad to give his swamp back.  Farquaad  sends Shrek to rescue Princess Fiona, who is waiting for her one true love. Fiona is keeping something secret and maybe the Prince and the ogre have good and bad all confused.

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                                  “Ogres are like onions. Onions have layers.”

                                  If you have other powerful messages and quotes, from your favorite inspiring movies, I’d love to hear them. Please share and add your personal suggestions.

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                                  Published on May 24, 2019

                                  How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

                                  How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

                                  My husband and I facilitate a couple’s marriage and parenting group. Recently, the group discussed qualities, characteristics, and traits we wanted to see our children develop as they grow up. One term that came up that all parents seemed to upon agree as a highly valued trait was that of grit. The question from our group was:

                                  “Can grit be taught to our children?”

                                  The answer is, yes. Parents can help their child develop grit.

                                  What is grit? Dr. Angela Duckworth is the top researcher on this subject and wrote the book Grit. She defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long term goals”. This new buzz word is popular in the adult realm, but what about our developing children? What if we could help our children develop grit as young children.

                                  Grit is more crucial to success than IQ. Duckworth, through her research at Harvard, found that having grit was a better predictor for an individual’s success than IQ. This means having the smartest kid in the room doesn’t ensure any level of success in their future. They can be brilliant, but if they aren’t properly intrinsically motivated, they won’t be successful.

                                  Grit determines long term success. If a child can’t pick themselves up and try again after a failure, then how are they going to be able to do it as adult?

                                  What a gift it would be to our children to engage them in a manner that helps them recognize their passions, talents, and develop a persevere to purse their goals. Below are some tips on how to raise a confident child with grit.

                                  1. Encouragement is Key

                                  When a child wants to learn how to ride a bike, do they keep going after they fall down or do they quit after the first fall?

                                  If they aren’t encouraged to get up and try again, and instead are coddled and told they can try again some other day, then they are being taught to play it safe.

                                  Safe and coddled don’t exactly go hand-in-hand with building up grit. The child needs to be encouraged to try again. This can be a parent saying “you can do it, I believe in you” and “I know that even if you fall again you will try again and eventually you will get the hang of it”.

                                  Encouragement to keep trying so that they can build up perseverance is very helpful in building a child’s confidence. This confidence is what will help them strike out and try again.

                                  If they feel that they can’t do it or shouldn’t do it, then they won’t. The mind is a powerful thing. If a child believes that they can’t be successful in doing something, then they won’t be successful. Part of building that mentality of believing in themselves comes from encouragement from their parents, care givers, and teachers.

                                  Cheer Them On

                                  How many times have you heard a story of success that someone had in life that all began because someone believed in that person?

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                                  A coach, a mom, a teacher can have a huge impact by believing in the child’s ability to be successful and voicing that encouragement to them. Words are powerful. Use them to build up a child, by telling them that they can do it even if they have try again and again.

                                  Be their support system by being their cheerleader. Cheerleaders don’t just cheer when the team is winning. They cheer words of encouragement to keep the team going.

                                  The same goes with children. We need to cheer for their successes, but also cheer for them to keep going and fighting the fight when life gets tough!

                                  You Can’t Force Them

                                  Keep in mind that you can’t force a child to keep trying. They have to do it themselves.

                                  For example, when my daughter was learning to tie her shoes, it was a real struggle. She gave up. I couldn’t make her want to try to do it again. She had to take a break from the struggle for a few months and then try again.

                                  She was more successful the second time around, because she had matured and her fine motor skills had improved. It would have been ridiculous for me to force her to practice tying her shoes for the three or four months in between, with tears and arguing taking place.

                                  No, instead we took a break. She tried again later. Forcing her to learn something that she wasn’t ready to learn would have pit us against one another. That would have been a poor parenting move.

                                  There are boundaries that parents can set though in some cases. For example, if your child begins an activity and wants to quit mid-season because they are terrible at the sport, you have the opportunity to keep them in the sport through the end of the season to show them that quitting is not an option.

                                  Although they may not win another tennis match the rest of the season or win another swimming race all year long, finishing the commitment is important. It will help with the development of grit by teaching them to persevere through the defeat. It is character building.

                                  If your child is great at all things all the time, they will not develop grit. They need to try things that challenge them. When they aren’t the best at something, or for that matter, the worst, it creates an opportunity for them feel real struggle. Real struggle builds real character.

                                  2. Get Them out of Their Comfort Zone

                                  My daughter wanted to try cheerleading this past fall. She has never done this activity in the past, nor is she particularly coordinated (sorry sweetie). For that matter, she couldn’t even do a cartwheel when cheer season began.

                                  However, we signed up because she was so excited to become a cheerleader. I signed up to coach because there was a need for more cheer coaches. We were all-in at that point.

                                  Once the season began, I quickly realized that cheerleading was far outside my daughter’s comfort zone. The idea of cheerleading was great in her mind. The reality of memorizing cheers and learning physical skills that were hard for her made the experience a struggle. She wanted to quit. I said to her “no, you were the one who wanted to do this, so we finish what we started.” I had to say this more than once. I don’t think anyone on the squad knew this was the case, because she kept at it.

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                                  She kept practicing those cheers every evening. It did not come naturally to her at first, so it was uncomfortable. She always seemed to be half a beat behind the other cheerleaders, which made it very awkward and uncomfortable for her. However, letting her know that quitting mid-season was not an option made her try harder. She wanted to learn the cheers so she wouldn’t stand out on the squad as the girl who didn’t know what she is doing.

                                  By the end of the season, she became a decent cheerleader. Not the best, but she was no longer half a beat behind the rest. She learned skills that were hard for her to conquer. Now that she felt success in achieving something that was uncomfortable and hard for her. She knows she has it in her to do that in other areas of life.

                                  That is why it’s ok for us as parents to let our kids feel the struggle and be uncomfortable. If they don’t experience it when they are young, they will as adults, but they won’t be equipped with the perseverance and inner-strength built from years of working hard through smaller struggles as they grew up.

                                  Allowing our children to struggle helps them build that skill of perseverance, so that they have the grit to achieve hard things in life that they really desire to accomplish.

                                  3. Allow Them To Fail

                                  Your child will fail at things in life. Let them. Do not swoop in and rescue your child from their personal failures. If they don’t fail, then they don’t have the opportunity to pick themselves up and try again.

                                  If I had pulled my daughter from cheerleader once I realized that it was going to be a real struggle, she wouldn’t have experienced failure and struggle. Letting her have this small failure in life taught her lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. She learned about the power she has within herself to try harder, to practice in order to make change happen, and to push through it even when you feel like giving up because it is embarrassing.

                                  Failure is embarrassing. Learning to handle embarrassment is taking on a fear. When kids learn to do this at a young age, it is practice for adult life. They will experience failure as an adult. They will be better equipped to handle life’s disappointments and failures if they have learned to handle the fear of embarrassment and failure when they are young.

                                  Practice builds up the skill. Processing and handling fear, embarrassment, and failure are skills.

                                  If I had pulled my daughter from cheer and allowed her to quit, I would have taken from her the opportunity to learn how to process and handle the embarrassment and failure she was experiencing at each practice and games. She learned to keep trying and that practicing the skills would lessen the embarrassment and feelings of failure.

                                  Learning the value of practice and how to preserve through the fear and failure are priceless lessons. We may want to rescue our children because we want them to be successful at the things that they do, but how will they be successful in this competitive world as adults if they are provided with only opportunities in which they succeed?

                                  Failure is needed to learn to thrive. Success in adulthood does not come easy to children who are protected from failure because they haven’t built up the ability to persevere.

                                  Perseverance comes when they have learned time and time again how to take the fear of embarrassment and failure head on and practice to get better.

                                  4. Teach Them to Try Again

                                  Encourage your child to try again. Don’t let them quit on the first try.

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                                  Life is hard. If we quit the first time we tried at things, we would never amount to anything in life. We need to teach our children that trying again is simply part of life.

                                  Help them to give it a go by providing encouragement and support. Offer to practice with them, provide them with tutoring or coaching if necessary — whatever it takes to get them back on the proverbial horse and trying again.

                                  Break it Down

                                  Sometimes failure occurs because they are trying something all at one time and they haven’t mastered the smaller components.

                                  For example, a math student isn’t going to jump into calculus as their first high school math course. No, of course not. They build on their skills. They begin with basic math, then algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus to then they get to the calculus level.

                                  If they are thrown into the deep end by taking on calculus before the foundation of their math skills are built, they will fail.

                                  Help your child try again by breaking down what it is they are trying to achieve.

                                  Going back to my cheer example… my daughter was not the best at learning the cheers when we began. It then dawned on me that we needed to break down each cheer phrase by phrase. Once we learned the phrase and movements that went with it, we could then learn the next one. Once these were learned, we could combine the phrases, practice them together, and then try to move to learn the next phrase in the cheer. It was a tedious process, but it worked.

                                  Not all skills come easy for kids. Helping them learn the skill of breaking things down into manageable tasks is another way we teach them about grit. They are learning to build skills by persisting, practicing, and building upon previous experience, knowledge, and skills.

                                  Grit is put into practice in childhood when they learn how to break down large tasks into smaller achievable tasks in order to build toward a greater goal.

                                  5. Let Them Find Their Passion

                                  Your child may be a wonderful pianist. However, if they aren’t passionate about the skill, then they likely won’t be happy or fulfilled in becoming a concert pianist.

                                  It’s great to help your child discover their talents, but also let them discover what they are passionate about in life.

                                  True success will come because they are passionate about the activity, not because they are the best. The best usually become that way because they are passionate first. Therefore, let your child experience a variety of activities and interests so that they can discover what they love to do.

                                  6. Praise Their Efforts, Not the Outcome

                                  Praising their efforts keeps them motivated and trying. If you focus on outcome, then when they fail, they will become defeated and discouraged.

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                                  Focusing on the fact that they tried hard and pointing out specific ways that they did well in terms of effort will support them in trying again. When you make a habit of focusing on outcome, then failures are avoided at all costs, including taking risks.

                                  Risks are needed in order to become successful. Therefore, make a habit of praising their efforts, even when the outcome is not what they had hoped and tried for, because eventually, if they keep trying their efforts will result in success.

                                  7. Be a Model of Grit

                                  If you are a parent or a caregiver for a child, then you are a model to that child. Children naturally look up to the adults in their life that are closest to them, especially their parents. They will look at your ability to persevere and achieve. Your grit will show.

                                  Your children are watching. They may not know the term grit, but they will learn about working hard, not giving up, trying again after failure, and all that grit entails from your actions.

                                  How you handle life is being watched by your children. You can work on your own grit by reading Angela Duckworth’s book Grit .

                                  Develop a Growth Mindset

                                  Helping your child develop a growth mindset is also helpful to your child in their development of grit. Dr. Dweck, author of Growth Mindset and researcher at Stanford, developed a theory of fixed versus growth mindset.

                                  Basically, what it means is that if you have a fixed mindset, you will fear failure and easily give up. Someone with a growth mindset believes that their talents, skills, and abilities can be improved with hard work and learning. Parents and caregivers can help with the development of a growth mindset.

                                    Some of the ways that a growth mindset can be developed include:

                                    • Teaching your child how the brain works: neuron connections, right brain versus left brain.
                                    • Teach them to set goals.
                                    • Teach them to have a “can do” attitude.
                                    • Teach them to develop a strategy when they want to achieve something.
                                    • Teach them that mistakes are an opportunity to learn.
                                    • Teach them that failure is a normal part of life.
                                    • Teach them about self talk: Self Talk Determines Your Success

                                    There are a great deal of activities and materials online for helping your child develop a growth mindset including these resources below (each site contains at least some free content):

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    Grit is not just for adults, it is something we can help our children develop. Grit is more critical to success than IQ, so we should be helping our children develop this quality early in life.

                                    As a parent, being a model of grit, is one of the first ways to help our children become “gritty”.

                                    Featured photo credit: Gabriela Braga via unsplash.com

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