I’m a father of 3. Girls – Bella and Tilly are 11 and 6 respectively. Will is a powerhouse 23mo old who is lovingly called our Wolverine. We own a business (Branding & Advertising work). This is our awesome life and, like you, through February 2020 life was “normal”.
While l’d love to characterize the Shelter-In-Place reality we are in as “life coming to a screeching halt” it was for all of us more of a slow leak of “it can’t get much worse” and then in some way we can say that it has.
Our state of being is suddenly, this:
6a – Will sings at top of lungs – wakes up house.
605a – put Cars on (again) to hold him at bay for a bit
7a – wakeup routine – shower, coffee… add eyeglasses, not clear enough, more coffee.
730a – breakfast for kiddos
8a – start work day – wife start’s homeschooling
DAD: 805a – 1p BLUR OF TIME with lots of Zoom Calls
MOM: 805a 1st lesson. 820a fix tech problem. 9a 2nd lesson. 10a Play time break. 11a More lessons, hybrid-playtime. 12p – something that seems important, too tired to care that much. To her it too is a blur.
1p – eat and try to figure out what happened this AM. Wow, we actually got a few things done.
110p – Will naps, girls homework, Dad (me) on Zoom again. Mom, tries to be “normal mom” instead of a teacher.
2p – check news… ugh, it’s worse today, but is it? Throw hands up, go back to work.
215p – refill coffee
3p – more Zoom
4p – Next zoom
5p – Final Daytime zoom
530p – Dinner and family time
830p – Can I go to bed yet? Nope, kids do though.
930 – back to work, late Zoom calls.
11p – 1a – creative work
1a – bedtime for Daddy.
This is the new routine. It doesn’t look or feel normal or right but it’s not “wrong” either. What can definitely be is DISORIENTING!
From that disorientation, and what you don’t see in that list, is the small family moments of personal sadness, crisis, sibling rivalry, etc. We are in some ways trapped in a new reality that is not of our own design and we mourn for the old way of doing things. We feel anxiety as we are stumped about what to do next. We get antsy if not angry about situations that are probably insignificant but feel quite real. Our emotions are all over and our actions may follow suit. These manifest most in our kids and, this is where Frozen 2 has helped us a TON.
Now, full disclosure, we are Christian family. We use Jesus’ example as a guide for our choice to treat others as we’d choose to be treated by others. We choose to lead with love. We choose the biblical example as best we can BUT, sometimes we need the cultural references that excite our children to make these Christian choices real. Enter Anna and Elsa.
If you have not seen the film, in short, here’s the macro view:
The land of Arendel has a dark history of abusing a relationship for profit. This unknown truth clouds an entire neighboring land and secretly may risk Arendel’s health. Elsa answers a spiritual call from the north to investigate her origins and discovers the truth. She also ends up literally frozen in her pursuit of the truth. The great lesson for my kids falls into the following moment in the film:
Anna, Elsa’s non-magical but very driven sister, figures out from a clue that her sister may have died. She also at the same time discovers that her ancestors had set up a peaceful people for destruction in exchange for power and gain. She sings a song in her despair. The song, “Do the Next Right Thing” is her encouragement to herself that when she doesn’t know how to predict the future and therefore make moves that impact the now and the later, she can lean on the fact that it is always right to “do the next right thing”.
My kids have begged to know when this will all be over. They want to go into stores or go to Disney (We live down the road from the Mouse). We can’t. Why? Because we must do the next right thing. We know that we risk the health of others if we become Corona Virus carriers. We will likely be fine if we get it but if we passed it to an elderly person or someone health compromised we could hurt them. The next right thingWe choose to distance because we care about people.
They have asked us if they have to do their homework (my oldest knows state testing was cancelled). We say yes – because school is about growing, not testing. It is right to grow and become a better, smarter person. So today’s next right thing is to participate fully in learning and growing.
I also call to their attention (BTW – Spoiler Alert Coming) that Anna had to have the giant Rock Monsters destroy a damn to free the land of the people but it risked destroying Arendel, her homeland. She knew in her moment that the risk of damage was worth the reward of doing the right thing and undoing an enslaving curse of the past. She risked it all for the right thing. Her bravery was rewarded (I’ll stop spoilers from here) with success.
When you don’t know the future, and with Corona Virus we can all be very clear that we DO NOT KNOW the future, what do you do? You choose not the path of least resistance. Rarely should you ever choose the path of “nothing” because inaction too is a choice. You need to choose to do the next identifiable right thing. Forward motion, no matter how small, is motion in the right direction. Doing the next right thing is actually calming. When you don’t know the right “path” you can know the next right move based on your moral compass – in my house as you know, we have a very clear North Star.
It’s kinda fun to see how my kids get it when I sing the song to them. They even laugh and beat me to the song now, because they are getting it that clearly. Frozen 2’s most pivotal and important moment is that beautiful song of personal resolve. It exemplifies a Christlike notion of “Do Unto Others As You’d Have done Unto You” with modern clarity that kids can understand.
So, to the adult who is likely reading this… Perhaps the next right thing for you is to watch the movie, hear the song, and learn to relay it to the kids in your world.
Disney’s Frozen 2 is available by streaming it at Disney+.
About the Author: Josh Pies is Executive Producer & Chief Attention Getter at C47 Film Associates. He is a 40+ Time Awarded Film & TV Producer/Director/Writer. He lives with his Wife, 3 Kids and Dog named Walt Disney in the Orlando Florida area.
www.JoshPies.com | www.C47Films.com