Lately, we’ve seen a lot of junk on TV and in the movies which are targeted toward children. I’m not talking about movies like Deadpool and Logan – THOSE ARE NOT KID’S MOVIES. I’m talking about rated PG and G movies, animated, cute-looking, seems nice on the surface movies that turn out to be horrible. There’s a whole bunch of “please never do this in real life” kind of nonsense that, after a while, is just exhausting to filter. From YouTube gameplay that you THINK will be appropriate for children only to find out it’s a bunch of fart jokes and bad attitude that NO ONE wants their kid repeating (I’m looking at you, FGTV), to crap that is down right terrible and doesn’t even attempt to hide it, (reference: “The Day My Butt Went Psycho”) the stupid is literally everywhere.

It’s surrounding our children 24/7 like a giant, jungle snake with hypnotic eyes lulling our children with the soft words, “trust in me”. If you don’t have time to sit there and watch these shows with your kids, chances are the bad behavior they get in trouble for is coming from these shows. It can get incredibly frustrating for parents and I tell ya, the world of media certainly doesn’t make it easy. Before you know it, you’ve turned into your parents – shielding the kid’s eyes and muting scenes in movies that were supposed to be for kids!

Occasionally, a gleaming gem of goodness shines through the darkness bringing tears of joy and much rejoicing from parents who actually don’t want to raise little monsters no one wants to hang around. They are rare, but when they appear, it’s like a wave of golden sunlight washing over a dingy sidewalk muddy with the rain of a thousand negative media experiences. There is need to celebrate the good things, to lift them up and rejoice in them so the encouragement can show the world what parents really want. Sure, some moms and dads totally don’t care if their kids watch talking buttholes, or shows about destroying their toys for fun, but I’d say the majority of parents, even the ones who don’t filter much, really would rather their children are watching things that enrich their lives rather than tear them down.

This is my personal list of current favorites with a few words about why. Everything on this list is animated. Everything is G or PG at the most. Everything (at the moment) is easily accessible through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or Redbox. Most importantly, everything on this list is something you can allow your child to watch with a clear conscience knowing they will learn lessons that matter.

I’m sure there may be others worthy of this list and if you feel I may have left something out, please don’t hesitate to post below in the comments.

Kubo and the Two Strings:

  • Perseverance when fear makes you want to run
  • Responsibility to family in need
  • Not every choice is easy, right, wrong, or good. Sometimes the best choice is simply the best you can do right then
  • Make the most of every moment – there is opportunity for magic and fun even in the hardest, darkest places
  • Respecting others, even when they look and seem different or unusual to you
  • Believing in yourself and in those who believe in you even when you do not want to listen to them
  • Sometimes parents are right! Boundaries exist for a reason and if your parent gives you a boundary, chances are there is a good reason for it. If you break the rule, be prepared for the consequence!
  • Even the most terrible of monsters are worthy of a second chance
  • Those hardest on you are often the ones who love you most
  • Your physical limitations do not bind you to mediocrity – you are only as weak as you allow yourself to be

Moana:

  • Only YOU define who you are and nothing external can take away your true self unless you allow it
  • You must help yourself before you expect anything from others – never expect a handout before you have at least tried to do it on your own first!
  • The world can be terrible, it can break you down and hurt you – but this does not define you
  • Sometimes we must step beyond our comfort zones in order to find our true purpose
  • Those who love you never truly leave you – their lessons last through many lifetimes and in many forms
  • Honor your elders but also honor the voice inside you – rejecting who you are for the sake of others’ limitations helps no one
  • Trust your intuition but be prepared to be humbled by lessons – nothing worthwhile comes easily!
  • When there is no more path to follow, create one
  • The power to heal, help and fuel the fire in this world is always within you – if you are willing

Trolls:

  • Sarcasm is a bad thing, only when you have lost the divine spark of pure joy within you will sarcasm even make sense
  • Believing in those who don’t seem to deserve it is the most precious gift you can give someone
  • Compassion for others, even when they are different and scary, can save the world for everyone
  • Helping others overcome their trouble is the surest way to make your own troubles go away
  • Always believe that someone loves you, that you matter, that you are worth fighting for
  • Always fight for others to show them how much they matter

Zootopia:

  • Big dreams are hard to achieve – NOT impossible
  • You must work for your successes in life
  • Understanding others’ differences can be the key to your own biggest strength
  • Never, never, ever allow other’s complacency to limit your ambition
  • If you don’t understand someone’s ways, ask them and be willing to learn – don’t make assumptions
  • Judging people based on stereotypes and prejudice will only create more of both – be willing to see more than what you think you know!

The Lego Movie:

  • Everyone is The Special – you just have to believe. Y’know, like a cat poster
  • It’s always okay to be different – sometimes, different saves the world
  • You don’t have to be The Special to be necessary, valuable, powerful and brilliant – you just have to be you
  • If you always look at things with a genuine sense of wonder and optimism, you are far more likely to enjoy life
  • Even the Lord Business in your life deserves to understand how important he is – encourage the hardest of hearts and you are likely to find an ally, not an enemy
  • Batman is kind of a jerk
  • Everything is awesome

The Princess and the Frog:

  • Never give up the dream you were born with
  • Remember that hard work grants wishes – not wishing on stars
  • The easy way is almost always the wrong way and will undo what work you’ve already put in
  • Smooth talkers have had lots of practice lying to people. Know when you are being played
  • Sometimes the universe/God/magic will give you exactly what you want, but only after you’ve worked for it
  • Spreading light, love and joy to others could save their lives.
  • Even if you are up against something a thousand times bigger than you, never stop fighting for what is right

The Book of Life:

  • Even if the world thinks you are crazy, if your convictions side with compassion, it is NEVER the wrong decision
  • Music heals. Period.
  • Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how we learn from them that matters
  • Every life is precious
  • Our loved ones are never truly gone, so long as we remember them
  • The Day of the Dead, or, Día de los Muertos, is not a holiday to fear, it’s not “worshipping the dead” or anything creepy whatsoever. It’s a holiday to remember our ancestors, to rejoice in where we have come from and to honor that history with promise to live our own lives to the fullest

Kung Fu Panda

  • We always say “when I’m ready”, right? Well, you will never “be ready”. Just do it, believe you can, trust your instincts and live to your potential
  • Give it time when you make life decisions
  • Don’t allow fear and self-doubt to rule your mind
  • Limiting yourself because of your expectations can keep you from achieving exactly what you wish you could do
  • Be an optimist because, why not? What good does it do you to be angry, bitter and raging all the time? Have fun!
  • Be yourself in all things. You are a gift and your gifts are yours to cultivate and share with the world
  • Sometimes people reject our insane desires out of fear of loss – don’t begrudge them, just love them anyway and show them they won’t lose you

Paranorman

  • The gifts that make you different are also the gifts that make you incredible
  • Just because someone doesn’t understand the beauty of your magic doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful
  • Always show kindness
  • Remember that those who are cruel are often those who were denied the love they deny others
  • Break the cycle of violence in any situation
  • Be fearless in the face of darkness, especially if you know you can help bring peace into someone’s life
  • You are NEVER too young to stand up for what is right
  • Zombies are not always evil – sometimes, they are just sad and full of regret
  • Mob-mentality, especially when a person or group is targeted, is always more dangerous than the person they fear

Hotel Transilvania & Hotel Transilvania 2

  • Being cautious is responsible parenting – being controllingly manipulative because you are scared is not and can have the exact opposite response
  • Be accepting of others – different cultures, different styles, different music and diet… even if they drink blood and eat mealworms on their pancakes, they are still worthy of love and respect
  • The fewer expectations you have in life the happier you will be
  • Allow each moment to unfold in front of you and roll with it – you may just end up somewhere incredible you never thought existed
  • Never, never, EVER lie to a mother about what you are doing with her child
  • Accept people for who they are, not who you wish them to be
  • If you have to face a family member with prejudice with your mixed marriage and child, it’s best not to do that at a giant family gathering surrounded by literally everyone you know

Rise of the Guardians

  • See the wonder in all things
  • Have a little fun, even when things are so scary and hard that fun is the last thing on your mind
  • Believe in magic. Believe in the impossible. Believe that YOU can create both. Always.
  • Sometimes all someone needs is for you to believe in them – be that person whenever possible
  • Everyone has value and a purpose in this world and it is our duty to find it and live it to the fullest
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt, even when you would rather be angry first
  • Be willing to learn more about yourself – don’t get held up by who you THINK you are – allow yourself to grow, change and be more than you ever thought possible
  • If someone offers you a chance at greatness, trust that they see something in you that is worthy and take the offer

Honorable Mention Short Story/Book Adaptations & TV Show List:

Room on the Broom

  • Friendships can change and grow, but that doesn’t mean they are lost
  • Never give up on your friends – especially when they need you most
  • Generosity creates the best kind of magic – it benefits everyone!
  • Be grateful for those who make an effort to be in your life, even when it’s not always convenient

Niko and the Sword of Light

  • People with mohawks can be awesome
  • Even when you are the only person who cares, always speak proper English and use educated words
  • Truth and light will always conquer darkness – it may take a while, but with faith, it will overcome
  • Rash, unwise decisions may lead you down the wrong path, but if you learned a valuable lesson from it, maybe it wasn’t so wrong after all!
  • It does not take violence toward another in order to overcome their darkness. Sometimes, all it takes is to show them the light
  • Learn to take care of yourself and protect what you value most but never use those skills to harm others or you become the darkness you are trying to destroy
  • Attitude is everything! Being confident and brave because you understand your purpose is great – but only if you are also humble and willing to continue growing
  • Nasty, whining, snarky attitude is only done by the villains

Bookaboo

  • A reading show featuring celebrities who read books to a rockstar dog
  • Each book chosen has a great lesson to teach
  • Each guest shares their story to help Bookaboo with his performances
  • Fun music, great guests, whimsical stories

Ernest and Celestine

  • Just because something is allowed, doesn’t mean you should do it! Don’t confuse legal with correct!
  • It’s okay to reject the world you live in if that world is full of untruths and cruelty
  • Finding friendship in unlikely places can change the world for everyone – if you are brave enough
  • If you know something is right, stick to it no matter what

So that’s my list for today. I left out several and may do another one of these soon. What are your favorite books and movies with the best life lessons?

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