Finding lessons in “Finding Dory”

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To be honest, I was not even going to see Finding Dory in the theater. After perusing reviews saying the film was as good as the original or even better,  I knew I had to check it out. So yes, it was a very good film with great animation, cute and funny characters and  a fun plot. What I want to focus on in this blog post, however, is the message. While watching Finding Dory, I was struck with how it was brimming with positive messages. I am sure that many people, like me, left the film feeling emboldened to not let your limitations and flaws stop you from living life, and feeling grateful for your parents, or at least wishing that you had parents that sowed such positive influences as Dory’s parents did. I know it’s a movie, and real families are messy and flawed. But I think if parents applied the lessons found here, they could raise kids who believe in themselves and others.

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY AHEAD

Message #1

Disabilities are speed bumps, not walls.

Finding Dory is a film filled with characters that have limitations and disabilities. Dory obviously struggles with being unable to hold on to short-term memories. Her parents always built her up, giving her the confidence and grace she needed to take risks, and to not hide from the world. Even though Dory still struggles with self-doubt she has friends in her life to keep encouraging her. Destiny, the Whale Shark in the film is near-sighted and always bumping into things. Bailey, the Beluga whale is unable to use his echolocation, critical for life in the sea. Hank is an Octopus, well a Septopus really, as he lost an arm. Hank also is a little bitter and jaded with life and does not like to be inconvenienced by others. All of these characters run into their limitations in this adventure, but learn to move past them and see value in themselves and others. Parents many times struggle to give their kids the freedom and grace to fail, and instill the confidence to never give up. This film provides a template to do just that.

Message #2

Be sensitive to others and build them up.

In the movie, Dory gets her feelings hurt, with insensitive words from Marlin. She loses some of her confidence, but with help she gets past it. We are always going to run into people who only see the negative, only see our weaknesses. We can let those voices have great power over us, or we can use them as motivation to excel. Parents, your voice in your child’s life has great influence and cataclysmic repercussions for years, even decades to come. It’s crucial for your voice to be the one that aids and lifts up, not the one to bring down. We all need to show some heart to those we encounter that are different from us.

Message #3

Life is precious

This film is pro-life in many ways. We scan for and look down on birth defects, and even abort babies that have them. Finding Dory is certainly not a movie about pro-life vs. abortion. The theme is found throughout the film though, in that life in all forms is meant to be valued and cherished. Life is precious!

This film also has an anti-captivity message aimed at Sea World. Most of the movie takes place in a kind of Marine theme park. The messages on the loud-speaker make it clear. ” We rescue, rehabilitate, and release all animals back into the wild.”

In conclusion, Finding Dory is a delightful film,  filled with complex messages and themes. When you go see it, open your eyes and hearts to its beautiful message.

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