Stealing an idea from George Lucas, PIXAR decided to come out with a “prequel” to Monsters Inc., which I think was genius from a business point of view. Not only will families with kids flock to the film, but the college crowd who grew up on Mike and Sulley will too.
And flock they did! After missing out on not one but TWO sold out showings, we decided we’d better go an hour early if we wanted to get the best seats in the house!
Luke doing his first movie “camp out,” but well supplied!
I’ll link to the official Kidology Review coming shortly from one of our expert reviewers, but I wanted to post some of my thoughts.
First of all, TWO THUMBS UP! As people were coming out the showing before us, I asked, “Thumbs Up or Down?” After repeated thumbs up, I had to explain the ‘thumb system’ to Luke. LOL
NOTE: I AM going to include spoilers from this point forward, so if you haven’t seen it, stop reading after this paragraph, and just go see it. It’s a great film with super messages for everyone on friendship, forgiveness, teamwork, and as my blog title suggests, never giving up.
Secondly, (minor spoilers following) I love the theme of never giving up on a dream! Along with that came the message of HARD WORK, which is not taught very well or very often in our American “get rich quick” or “I’m entitled to success” culture. That’s why I’d give the movie four thumbs up if I had that many. (I’d probably be in the movie, then, huh?)
Mike is a little monster who, quite simply, isn’t very scary. But after an experience as a young monster early in the movie at the Scream Power Plant at the heart of Monstropolis, (I’ll leave that spoiler out, for those who chose to read on), he sets his heart and all his effort on becoming a Scarer at the Power Plant. It is his dream and life purpose. The movie quickly shows him studying hard and getting good grades to get into the college of his choice, Monsters University, rather than the rivals, Fear Tech or Scary University.
Despite all his hard work, and he works and studies harder than anyone else, his lack of “natural scariness” seems to spell nothing but failure. Rather than summarize the entire movie since you’ve either seen it or will, I will to get to my point. Through it all, Mike never gives up. There is one moment of despair where he almost does, but that is when reconciliation happens between Mike and his former rival, Sulley. As it turns out, Sulley had been depending on natural talent and a family reputation rather than hard work to succeed, yet he was seeing the same amount of failure.
Working together, they end up doing the impossible. As great as that is, it isn’t what I like the best about the film. There was something else I really liked, and I’m curious if others caught it.
In the process of doing this incredible “thing” at the end (still avoiding the details), they break some rules and to my surprise, they are expelled from Monsters University. I really expected them to be forgiven and allowed to re-enroll due to the amazing “thing” they did. The intimidating teacher I suspected of being evil the entire movie turns out to be just stern and intimidating. While she admits her surprise at their success, she doesn’t extend grace. They still have to leave the school.
Could the message, especially to to college kids,be that the ends do not justify the means? You may accomplish good, but you may still have to accept the consequences?
Then came what I loved most, and my Patriotic side nearly burst. Since they flunked out of Scare School, they decided to take on what was offered once as an insult: a job in the mail room at the Monstropolis Power Plant. It reminded me of Joseph in the Bible.
First, sold as a slave, he decided to be the best slave he could be, and in time was promoted to running the entire house of the captain of the guard of Pharaoh. His positive attitude, even as a slave, earned him that promotion. Then, when Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into prison, he didn’t pout and complain Again, be decided he would just become the best prisoner that prison had ever seen, and soon he was put in charge of the entire prison. In time, he rose to become the second in command of all of Egypt! His literal childhood dream came true.
That is exactly what Mike and Sulley did. They immediately set out to beat the “most mail delivered” record. And they did. Next, we saw through some pictures put up over time in Mike’s locker that they went on to be janitors and decided to be the best janitors ever. Then they served soup, and they put their hearts into that. Finally, there was an “Employee Scare Try-Out,” and they won. Their dream came true! It took time, hard work, and patience, but they DID became official Scarers!
That is a message MUCH NEEDED for kids today in our country. Hard work, patience, humility, determination, and dedication to a dream will in time product results!
Just like John D. Rockefeller, Mark Zuckerburg, Ansel Adams, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ty Warner, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, John Travolta, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Peter Jennings, Steven Spielberg, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and even Abraham Lincoln, they fulfilled their dreams through hard work and focus, having never graduated from college! They didn’t expect anything to be given to them, they worked hard for it.
Too many young people today expect to graduate from college and be given a six figure salaried career. They aren’t willing to work in the mail room, be the janitor, serve soup, or flip hamburgers – and be the best hamburger flippers their fast food joint has ever hired. That is the secret to seeing your dream come true. I am blessed to own and run my own business, but that only came after decades of mowing lawns, flipping burgers, delivering legal documents, valet parking cars, organizing plumbing parts, and being the best children’s pastor I could be while pursuing a God-given dream I had when I was 19 and a calling I received when I was 10.
I guess you could say, “Be Like Mike.” Pursue your dream, and if one door closes, find another way. And if God is on your team, you can only win, if you never give up! He will bring along the Sulleys in your life to help you, humble you, teach you, and join you in your quest!
BE LIKE MIKE!
PS: Stay after the credits. Our family were the ones who did… and it was worth it.
I found the Lost Medallion! And with it, I traveled into the future and saw this movie that is coming out in theaters NEXT MONTH!
Here is my review, before the movie even hits theaters! Truly, the Medallion is powerful!
No worries, right before returning from the future, I replaced the Medallion to the place where I found it so as not to disturb the space time continuum – you really don’t want to mess with that! Last time I did, I nearly kissed my mom at a dance in the 50′s! McFly!
Anyway, I really enjoyed it. (Dare, I admit tissue needed at the end?)
It reminded me of The Princess Bride in that the story was written in response to requests from children (though not many people know the Princess Bride was written from a list of things the author’s daughter asked to be in a bedtime story) – In this movie, it was a group of gathered foster kids who asked for a story.
It also reminded me of Second Hand Lions in that while the sets and acting and effects may have been sub-par for a ‘realistic’ major motion picture, it wasn’t intended to be ‘realistic’ as it was a visualization of a story being told, and in that sense, it made it perfect. This isn’t to say the effects or acting were bad – it was quite elaborate and the settings were beautiful and exotic, just a little corn-ball at times in a fun way, similar to Second Hand Lions.
It also had tips of the hat to Indiana Jones in light hearted ways, but in the end, it was a movie with an obvious purpose: to address the need for kids to know they are special (a word almost over used).
The story teller is a man dropping by a foster home to drop some things off on his way to a play off game and after visiting with the host, an elderly woman, he conversationally learns a little about three news kids – each with unique needs. When he is mistaken as the Tuesday story teller, he gets roped into spinning a story, which he crafts using the names of the three new kids, each with character needs similar to their own.
Half way through the story, you see him glance at his tickets and you realize he has chosen to skip the game and continue his story for the sake of the kids who are glued to the story he is skillfully weaving… with the once withdrawn kids moving closer and engaging, much like the nephew in Princess Pride.
As for violence, there is one death that is a little awkward to the plot and seems a bit forced, but is planted in order to provide a parable for Christ’s sacrifice for us. An old man who was killed steps in front of the main character to save him. When asked why he would die for him, his dying words are, “Because a king once died for me.” The sudden attempt on the boy’s life by an otherwise comedic character seems a little out of place, but it serves the purpose of the parable as well as lightening the party who next must travel by water, a trip that would have certainly left the old man behind anyway. The primary villain kills a few of his underlings, but most of the violence happens behind a log or bush or is pretty tame.
While the story moves a bit slow at times and could have used some tighter editing, it has a message that is an important one that would be valuable for all children to view. I would especially recommend this movie to children who are in foster care – as it seems it would have a message of hope and value for them, when adults in their lives have let them down, God still has a purpose for them, and the message of “they are no accident” is rung loud and clear several time in this film. It is refreshing to see another movie produced with the goal of instilling positive messages to kids about their own value and God’s love for them. We need more movies like this.
The hardest line for me was the father who told his son, “Everything of value to me is buried in the ground,” referring to his deceased wife and the lost treasure, oblivious the message that communicates to his son – who is alive and standing right there. I would hope fathers watching would catch that blow, and ask themselves if their grief over life’s losses and their devotion to work ever communicates a lack of value placed on their children who are longing to be loved and valued by their dads.
The end has a very sweet twist I’ll save for your enjoyment that adds an extra special and unexpected heart tug outside of the Lost Medallion story itself, that adds value to the overall experience.
In short, support this film, and take your kids to see it in the theater. You’ll be glad you did.
The first app is called The Sounds of the Night and it is a story about a boy going to bed and hearing noises outside that make him a little scared, but learning what they are. Each is explained as a creature God created with touch screen interactive options that are fun to discover as well as pop-out words for early readers.
The story can be read to you, or you can read it to your child. There is even an option for the book to advance by itself if you are just cuddling and want it easy.
And while Christmas may be in December, The Lonely Stable is a story for all year around because it is a story of understanding that we all have a special purpose for why God made us.
It also has fun interactive touch elements, shapes, sounds, words and more for young kids to enjoy and the same reading (or be read to you) options.
As you can see, these books are gorgeously illustrated. But I can’t show you on the blog, the fun interactions, you’ll have to experience that on your iPad!
While I think every reader of mine should support this effort of Jessica’s by buying these for their kids so she can quickly come out with the next book – she gave me some iTunes Store codes to give several away for FREE – just listen to my podcast to find out how you can get one of these two books for free!
Not since Parenting is HEART Work has there been another parenting book that I really liked. Most parenting books annoy me. Why? Because I find them gimmicky or filled with tricks and cliche’s that don’t treat children as unique creations of God wired by Him for a purpose. I’m passionate about this because as a boy I was one of those boys that drove my teachers crazy – I wasn’t rebellious, disrespectful, mean or insubordinate – but they might have called me a “bad boy” when I was out of ear shot. Because I didn’t come out of a cookie cutter. But if they could see me now, they’d understand, I’m a leader, a visionary, a creative innovator, inventor and initiator. An entrepreneur. A mover-and-shaker. I still can’t sit still.
That is why I was hesitant when I was offered a free copy of Spiritual Parenting to review, because it was a new “parenting” book, and I hate parenting books! Parenting books teach parents how to get their kids to behave, and if you’ve been to any of my discipline workshops, you’ve heard me say,
“I have absolutely NO interest in children behaving.”
After the shocked faces recover, I assure them, behavior will improve, but what I’m interested in is shaping their character and their hearts. If you change their behavior – you succeed in making little Pharisees out of them. Training them how to “act” when adults are around. And what happens when the adults are no longer around. Uh, huh.Exactly!
That is the problem with teenagers. When they were kids their parents taught htem how to behave instead of shaping their hearts and character. DUH!
Well, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the premise of Spiritual Parenting is precisely that. As it says on the back cover:
“It’s hard enough to train kids to behave, but good behavior isn’t what Jesus calls for in the Bible. God wants hearts and souls that are shaped in vibrant faith and love toward Himslef and others.”
Michelle Anthony, a Family Ministries Pastor in Costa Mesa, CA, talks throughout the book about how to create environments for fostering Godly character in your children – Environments of Identity, Faith Community, Service, Out of the Comfort Zone, Responsibility, Course Correction, Love and Respect, Modeling and more. She gives practical examples, steps, stories, and scriptures to help parents see how forming a child’s character is the key to real genuine change – change that matters – not just external change. It is a book I’d highly recommend you pick up and settle down and read, have your spouse read, and then discuss.
The other book David C. Cook was generous to give me a copy of, also by Michelle, was The BIG GOD STORY – and it just that! Big and all about God! Never before have I seen in one short children’s book the story of GOD woven so simply and profoundly through the entire Bible in a way that even young children can grasp – even including the 400 years of silence between our Testaments, showing, as she says in the final letter to the Reader, “that God promised, preserved, prophesied, and faithfully presented His Redeemer at the perfect time!”
Your children hear bits and pieces of this giant story in a scattered order at church. Having this book at home and telling them where what they are hearing at church or seeing on TV fits into this BIG GOD STORY can really help them grasp the larger Story of God. I’m grateful to have this book for my son.
Note: These are not affiliate links, I make no money off the purchase of these books. However, I did get a free copy in exchange for the review.
Got lots of snow and ice? I know JUST what you need! Spikes!
Last year I tweeted that I was heading to Yosemite for a solo snowshoeing trip and @32NorthSTABIL tweeted me and recommended that I get a pair of their STABLicersfor my trip. Well, I replied that I’d take a free pair and try ‘em out!
Next thing I knew, these arrived in the mail:
My Gift From 32 North!
So I took them to Yosemite in the middle of winter:
It was a great trip! In fact, I snow shoed and hiked around quite bit taking all these amazing pictures:
But whenever I didn’t have my snowshoes on – I had to walk on ice and slippery roads, and MAN did I like having THESE one:
They gave me a firm grip even if they did make me sound like a rusty tap dancer everywhere I went! I highly recommend them to anyone who plans to be walkin’ around on ice or snow! They go on quickly and pack small, so I was able to keep them in my pocket and have them handy. It’s dangerous to be walking around on ice – one fall can pretty much ruin your trip!
I keep them in my car now and have them ready for whenever I find myself out and needing to walk around ice or yucky ground, which in Colorado, is OFTEN!
THANKSHeather for the STABLicers and sorry my review took so long! It’s just that now it’s so easy to be out in the snow having FUN with no fear of falling!