Recently, I was reminded of the first time our family watched the 2006 movie Happy Feet and the life lesson that completely took me by surprise! Yep, the life lesson.
Happy Feet is a cute, if contrived, film about a penguin named Mumbles who lives in Antarctica with all the other little Emperor Penguins. In his community, all penguins sing a "heartsong" to find their mates. It is by this heartsong that all the little penguins are judged. The one who sings the "best" song is the most coveted of mates. They even attend compulsory school to better find their heartsong. And yes, I did find it weird that school was required to learn what was supposed to be in ones heart. It is here, that Mumbles finds he doesn't have a heartsong that can be revealed by singing, but instead...Happy Feet. Frankly, Mumbles is a terrible singer! Here is where my family's story with Happy Feet begins...
As we were watching the movie, my oldest daughter, India, leans into me and whispers words that made my prayers of thanks go forth. Here is how that whispered conversation went:
"Why does he keep trying to sing?"
"Because that's what everyone around him is telling him he should do and I think he wants to be accepted and just fit in."
"But, mommy...why doesn't he just dance? It's what HE'S supposed to do!"
"Yes baby, it certainly is."
Out of the mouths of babes! We are each designed with talents, gifts, and a specific purpose for our lives. We are not aimlessly trapped on a planet hurling 66,000 miles through the Universe with no one at the wheel. We each have a purpose and by finding it, we will give glory to the One who placed us here.
Hearing my little girl, who was only 6 at the time, grasp the concept that my husband and I have intentionally placed focus on made "my" heart sing! We have taken a great deal of time with our children to let them know that they are special, fearfully and wonderfully made with very specific gifts and talents that may or may not be like anyone else they know. My children are unique....just like everyone else! That sounds like a conundrum, but something so often overlooked in "educating" our kids. They are not designed to be "standardized". They are designed to bring glory to the One who created them and so is every other person on the planet. It's by understanding this concept that our children will realize their true potential and that their worth is not determined by their career choices, their monetary value or any other worldly value that we try to place on them. It's by understanding this that true acceptance of all others truly comes. It is impossible to teach our children to love others as they love themselves if they have no concept of how to accept, or be, who they were created to be.
I know this may seem like a lot to take away from a kid's movie, but I'm of the opinion that whatever way we can teach our kids to recognize that they have eternal value is a good one. Any way that we can educate our kids with wisdom is of much more value than simple knowledge that can change from one day to the next.
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."