Classic Disney movies that most of us '80s and '90s kids grew up with are getting a bad reputation in 2019. As kids, we loved the music, the fairytales, and the journey we're taken on. As adults, we realize most of these princes and princesses live an unrealistic life where a woman's job is to fall in love while the men bring home the bacon.
It's not until we're older that we see these small red flags on behalf of Disney, but that doesn't mean the entirety of these movies are bad! Mulan demonstrates how boys and girls can do anything they put their mind to regardless of gender. Belle encourages us to fall in love with reading. And Lilo teaches us to love everyone regardless of how they look (just don't push them, okay!?). These 10 moments from Disney are big enough lessons moms can teach their kids (and can teach themselves as well).
10 Don't Let Gender Get In The Way Of Your Dreams Like Mulan & Merida
In 1998, Disney released Mulan; the dark tale of a woman fighting in a war for her family's honor. Sneaking out of her house at night, Mulan took on the appearance of a male to be able to fight against the Huns without discrimination against being female.
The lesson we can teach our kids is just because we're born male or female should have no effect on our dreams. For parents, the lesson here is to encourage our kids to follow their goals without boundaries (and the same goes for them!).
9 Just Keep Swimming Like Dory
By the time 2003 rolled around, we were introduced to Finding Nemo. The adorable tale about a fish (Nemo) being separated from his dad (Marlin), his dad swims thousands of miles through the ocean to find his son. Along the way, he meets Dory — a fish who has short-term memory loss. And in spite of her flaws, she refuses to give up. "Just keep swimming," she tells herself, and we should say that to our families as well. No matter what gets in your or your child's way, keep pushing through the dark times to find the bright times.
8 Let Your Life Begin Like Rapunzel
Tangled was the story of Rapunzel. Taken from her castle as a young girl, Rapunzel's parents did everything they could to find out what happened to their daughter. In hopes she would one day return, the entire city lights lanterns every year on her birthday as a reminder.
In reality, Rapunzel was taken by a greedy woman who wanted Rapunzel's magical hair to stay young forever. Pretending to be her mother, Mother Gothel forces Rapunzel to stay in her tower. Eventually, she gets tired of being cooped up and breaks free to explore and find herself. Now, we're against running away from home, but parents and kids should always remain curious.
7 Fall In Love With Reading Like Belle
Not only can we learn from Beauty and the Beast to love someone for not their looks, but their soul, but we also learned to fall in love with reading. Belle may be viewed as weird for always having her nose in a book but she's filled with knowledge and fun facts because she's well-read. She also learned to survive through unthinkable circumstances, thanks to her child-like wonder and ability to push through adversity. We can all learn to fall in love with learning, thanks to Belle.
6 Treat Everyone Fairly Like Lilo
In 2002, Disney produced Lilo and Stich, the adorable movie of a lonely girl looking for something more. With her sister as her primary guardian, Lilo has to figure out life without her parents and a sister who's constantly busy. Making friends can be hard for young kids but Lilo never gave up.
The other girls thought she was weird but she never judged them for their differences. Once she met Stitch (an alien everyone thought was a weird looking dog), everyone wrote him off as freaky or weird, but not Lilo. She taught us all to never judge a book by its cover and to love everyone regardless of looks.
5 Don't Let Loss Consume You Like Simba
After Simba lost his father in The Lion King, there was only one thing he could do: run away. Okay, so he was physically chased by Scar and his hyenas, but something tells us he would have still run away without that threat. The lesson here is to never run away from loss. It's something that happens in life—regardless of age—and both parents and children need to do what they can to learn from it; tackle it head-on. If Simba stayed behind with his mom, maybe that was the strength she needed to fight Scar and his members. Maybe knowing Simba was alive was the fuel Pride Rock needed. Nevertheless, welcome change and learn from those hurdles.
4 Keeping Things Bottled Up Can End Badly Like Elsa
When Elsa learned that she was different from her sister, she panicked. Her parents tried to conceal her icy powers but it was easier said than done. Instead of being open about her differences, Elsa let her powers come in between her and her sister.
Frozen is all about the power of love and family. Perhaps if Elsa was open with her sister Anna about her powers, she wouldn't have felt the need to hide from everyone. If a parent notices their child is different than other students, harness whatever it is that makes them special and share it; don't hide.
3 Whatever You Do, Don't Run Away Like Ariel
Oh, Ariel! The Little Mermaid came out 29 years ago and told the tale of a young mermaid who had dreams of walking through life on land — not by sea. But as we find out, the grass isn't always greener. Wanting to find the love of her life, Ariel signs away her voice, her tail, and her soul for the chance of falling in love.
We all know Ariel was rebelling against her strict father for the shot at a new experience, but use this movie as a lesson in what not to do. Parents should encourage their kids to find their passions, yes, but to do it with the support of their parents — not alone.
2 Use Your Imagination Like Flick
Pixar took us on an amazing ride with A Bug's Life. We learned a lot about the fight between ants and grasshoppers, birds and insects, and life as a circus bug!
Flick was the main character who taught us to use our imagination. While every ant in the colony was following order and literally staying in line, Flick danced to the beat of his own drummer. He also used his imagination to create one-of-a-kind inventions that could totally help people be more efficient. Parents can watch this film with their kids and ask them what they pull away from the film.
1 Lying Gets You Nowhere Like Pinocchio
One of the oldest movies on this list, Pinocchio released in 1940. Telling the story of a puppeteer who wanted his young puppet to become a real boy, his wish was granted after wishing on a fallen star.
Once Pinocchio becomes a real boy, he soon learns what that entails and how to stay true to himself. Whenever he tells a lie, his nose grows a little bit longer every time. And while our noses won't grow when we tell white lies, it's a great analogy to teach our kids (and a reminder for ourselves!)