So, my son regularly rolled his eyes at me as a kid, every time I asked him, “Hey, what do you think the message of that movie/song was?” Or when I asked him to stretch a bit further and imagine what someone would do if they believed and acted on those messages.
But I kept asking because I know it’s dangerous to “let it go” in unconsciously. I couldn’t isolate him from all of untrue messages, but at least I could help him develop a filter of mindfulness.
The second time we watched “The Greatest Showman,” I saw the impact of this stealthy plan of mine.
“Mom! That SONG! Listen to the lyric!” He paused the movie in the middle of arguably the catchiest and most melodically beautiful song on the soundtrack.
I turned to face him and the conversation we had [I’ll get back to that, I promise.] reminded me of another catchy song with deceptively dangerous lyrics and the reason I was susceptible to it.
The image of Elsa running from her kingdom and responsibility there…
To protect those she loved from herself…
And then realizing the absolute beauty of those gifts…
The powerful, heart-opening music…
The incomparable voice of Idina Menzel…
Lyrics that mirrored the bittersweet pain of isolation, failure, and relief in my soul…
The lump in my throat grew too painful.
Tears streamed down my face.
I, too, had just fled the scene of superpowers-gone-wrong and abandoned my business, my purpose, and my responsibility to it because I just didn’t know how to wield the power without painful consequences.
The song reflected back my pain and confusion. It was like medicine.
But because I’m a message girl, it didn’t take long for me to STOP listening, and here’s why.
Wait just a minute…
Do you think it was really true that Elsa didn’t care what others were going to say? Beyond that incredibly emotional moment?
More importantly, despite some of the popular self-development and spiritual doctrines/values that we shouldn’t care what others think about us, is that an idea that holds up when we want to belong to a community and have to figure out how to do it in a healthy way?
Do we really want to believe that we can’t hold our power back anymore? I mean, sure it’s awesome to “unleash one’s power,” but is it ideal to suggest—especially children—that we don’t have control of our superpowers at some point?
Imagine these words, embedding themselves as ideas, thoughts, feelings, and eventually beliefs in the minds, hearts, and bodies of little girls and boys.
Sure, you’re not afraid when you’re alone on a mountain…
But what happens when you have to interact with others, which we all have to do?
Wait just a minute. No right or wrong or rules = freedom? Ummmmm, not true! Breaking the rules is sometimes necessary, but they are there for a reason, kids.
One with the wind and the sky sounds like every spiritual experience I’ve had! More of that feeling, please.
Here I stand and here I stay. Well, yeah, everyone wants to stay there, but that’s not real life. There are these things called cycles, and I can tell you from experience what happens when you don’t prepare a child for these. Ouch!
The perfect girl is gone. Whew. Is it a great idea to dismiss an ideal, even if the intention was about discarding the mask of perfection? It’s one thing to redefine an ideal, but quite another to send it away for good. We need ideals to guide us.
That’s the danger of putting a song on REPEAT…
If the lyrics are not completely true and empowering.
My son’s excited, I-just-figured-something-important-out voice brought me back to the moment with him, on the couch.
“’Never enough!’ She is singing out loud the words that he’s believed and felt his entire life. It’s the exact opposite of what his wife always told him—that he was enough for her.”
He smiled with deep satisfaction, because this was a question we’d discussed the first time we watched it: “Where did he go wrong?”
On this second round, we had quite the discussion about how dangerous this song is for people who believe and feel these words.
“Mom, this is the catchiest song on the track too…” He shook his head, understanding the implications of people believing that they are never enough, or there is never enough.
“I say we erase this off our playlist,” he declared.
I nodded in agreement and then we got back to watching one of our new favorite musicals.
[More to come on that one, but first… ]
even when the iPod or phone are off?
wiring deeply into your unconscious mind?