Last Friday, we saw Cinderella.
The new and improved Cinderella from Disney.
And it was gorgeous. It was beautiful.
And the end? It’s picture-perfect.
It’s a fairy tale ending, just like we all wanted.
Every little girl I know will want to see it. Over and over and over and over and over again.
Which is why I truly believe that there’s a must-have conversation every family must have after taking kids to see Cinderella.
Here’s the skinny. . .
The Must-Have Conversation Every Family Must Have After Taking Kids to See Cinderella:
First, let me be clear: I get Cinderella.
I know the story.
I saw the animated movie.
I have shared them both with my kids well before we saw the new movie. I know it’s a fairy tale, and I know how it ends.
And I’m not expecting miracles.
But perhaps Elsa is fresh on my mind since we’re all still defrosting from Frozen fever. Elsa was a rockstar in the way she works out her personal struggles without the help of anyone other than her sister. And in the end, she learns to control her powers and run a country.
Maybe I just over-loved Tiana who saves pennies in a cofollows her lifelong dream to open a restaurant. As an entrepreneur, I want my girls to know that they can do anything they set their mind to.
Brave’s Merida was so full of adventure and drive, and I loved her refusal to fit into her family’s preconceived molds. She set out to follow her own destiny, learning some serious life lessons along the way.
Are these three Disney princess perfect? Not at all. But they’re fresh on my mind, being that they are the more recent additions to the Disney princess club.
As we were walking out of the theater last week, after hearing all of the oooooohs and ahhhhhhhs and wishful conversations among movie-goers, I wanted to remind all of the parents to talk to their daughters about a few things. Really.
Please parents, after watching Cinderella, tell your daughters:
You are beautiful.
You. Are. Beautiful.
Your healthy body is beautiful. You have strong legs that take you everywhere, that allow you to run, jump, flip, bike, ice-skate, rollerskate, and play. You have strong arms that you use to build structures, make forts, string bracelets, paint pictures, and design your dreams; your arms and hands allow you to write notes, type stories, do handstands and cartwheels.
God gave you one body, and you take care of it well. You. Are. Beautiful.
You are smart.
You. Are. Smart.
You read, you listen, and you think. You are questioning and curious. You work hard on your homework until you understand it, and you take your school work seriously. You are a coveted classmate for projects and assignments; your friends know you are a hard worker and that your creative, innovative ideas will get your project done well.
You figure things out. You follow directions. You can do things on your own, and if you can’t, you ask for help. You. Are. Smart.
You are strong.
You. Are. Strong.
You are strong whether I am with you or not, whether your dad is with you or not.
You are strong by yourself, wherever you are, whomever you are with. You are strong in or out of our house, in the summer or winter, in the spring or fall. You are strong whether you have hair or no hair, phone or no phone, toys or no toys.
You are strong no matter what you are wearing and no matter what you think. You. Are. Strong.
You are kind.
You. Are. Kind.
You have more kindness in your pinky finger than more people have in their whole body.
You always think about other people. You write sweet notes to friends. You wrap beautiful, homemade gifts. You take care of our pets, and you help around our house. You are giving, and you care about how people feel. You. Are. Kind.
Now, think about the movie. Sure, Cinderella was beautiful and ‘courageous and kind’ like her mom said, but really, there are some things you need to know.
Cinderella was wearing a corset to make her waist look super tiny.
Cinderella–along with all of the women in the movie–was wearing costumes that made her body look different.
The were wearing corsets. Or girdles. Or something like that.
A corset is something that women wore long ago to hold in their stomachs, to make them look more like an hourglass. Corsets are kind of like the top part of an ice-skate but around your waist. The laces are pulled super-super tight in the middle and a little more loose at the top and bottom so the hips and breasts look bigger. In olden days, people actually had fainting couches and fainting rooms because women were barely able to breathe wearing these corsets–often they fainted.
Can you even imagine? Think about how hard that must have been. Think about how tough it would have been for those ladies to walk down the street in a corset, let alone dance, run, jump, or play.
Cinderella did not need to take that awful treatment from her stepmother or stepsisters.
I mean it. Nobody deserves to be treated that way.
It’s one thing to be courageous and kind, but it’s another to be a total pushover.
Cinderella could have said something like,
Hey, I don’t appreciate the way you’re making fun of me right in front of my face. It’s not nice, and I won’t stand for it. Or. . .
I’m sorry, but I am definitely not going up into the attic for a bedroom. If the sisters want to share my bigger bedroom, that’s fine. I’ll take the smaller one. But the attic? No way. Or. . .
Really? Do you honestly feel good about sending me to eat alone in the kitchen? No, sorry. I’m eating at this table with you guys. So. How’s the weather? Or. . .
Um, nope. I’m not cool with tying your shoes. I can help you loosen your corset and then you can tie your own shoes. Thankyouverymuch. Or. . .
I don’t care what you think about this dress. It was my mom’s, and even if it is a little out-dated or not quite as poofy as yours, it means a lot to me. You’re entitled to your opinion, but I’m still going to the ball with you. Now, move over, bacon. . .
Cinderella could have left the house.
We saw her talking to a girlfriend in the market one day, right? That pal could have helped her get out. But Cinderella had some funny belief that she needed to stay in the house to ‘honor her mother and father’? I don’t believe it. No way. Her parents loved her. Bottom line.
So that means that more than anything, they’d want her happy.
Usually there’s someone who can help you–no matter what situation you’re in, no matter how bad things seem. There’s someone who can help you. Whether it’s a parent, brother or sister, classmate, neighbor, friend, teacher, or coach–someone can be your lifeline.
Cinderella did not use her lifeline. Clearly.
Cinderella could have done something.
After an amazing, magical, awesome time at the ball, Cinderella just sat in her attic room waiting for . . . what?
What was she waiting for? What was she doing up there after the ball? Was she locked in her room? I can’t even remember.
All I know is this: at that point, Cinderella could have done a dozen other things to change her situation other than just sit there and sing. Right?
So though she was pretty lucky that the Prince’s guy was there and demanded that they check out the beautiful singing heard from above, life doesn’t always work out that way.
Sometimes–most of the time, actually–you have to take the reigns in your own hands.
And though it’s a whole lot sweeter if you’re courageous and kind, often, you have to do a little more, give a little more, risk a little more.
You’ve got to use your strength and your smarts to steer your own ship.
To plot your own course.
To find your own map.
To paint your own masterpiece.
To buy your own flowers.
To sing your own song.
But I know you can do it, and I love you.
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fyi: I am proud to be a part of the Fandango Family Digital Network and will share a movie-related post quarterly. Parents, check out the deets on Cinderella, including information about the cast and crew, from our friends at Fandango. Share your #fandangofamily moments for others to see, or check out the Fandango Family Facebook page for fun posts and contests.
I am proud to work with Disney as well. All of the Cinderella images are courtesy of Disney. Thank you!