Lessons learned about family from the movie 'Frozen'

'Frozen' teaches lessons about family: the proper handling of emotions, the power of vulnerability, and the power of true love.

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  • I probably don't need to describe how popular the movie "Frozen" has become, nor do I need to reiterate the fact that many people have written about the hidden meanings this movie could offer. "Frozen" is a great movie that appeals to people of all ages because of its messages, animation, and songs.

  • "Frozen" teaches, among many messages, beautiful lessons about family and relationships that can strengthen families and society as a whole.

  • 1. Handling emotions

  • The entire movie is a great trial and error experience as Elsa learns how to appropriately handle her emotions. When Anna’s head is healed in the beginning, Elsa is directed by the trolls to learn to control her powers, “You must learn to control it. Fear will be your enemy.” In efforts to help Elsa keep control, her father locks the gates, reduces staff and limits Elsa's contact with people so her powers will be hidden from everyone. He instructs her to “conceal, don’t feel.”

  • While we had once seen Elsa as a carefree, fun-filled and loving sister, she grew to become a frightened girl who spent the majority of time locked in her room. Because of her experience in almost killing her sister, she lived in a frightened state. She, and her good-intentioned father, thought if she just shoved her emotions down, if she didn’t feel, her powers would be under control.

  • Does shoving emotions down ever work? No

  • Shoving emotions down causes them to grow under strong pressure. Eventually, they erupt very forcefully, as shown when Elsa’s high-strung emotions freeze the whole kingdom.

  • It wasn’t until Elsa finally allowed herself to feel her emotions, or “let it go,” that she learned to control her power.

  • Elsa’s example shows the importance of teaching our children how to appropriately deal with their emotions. Sometimes kids make mistakes. They will have experiences, and with each one lies a teaching moment. With every experience, children need to be taught how to deal with their power and emotions. Elsa’s power could be symbolic of the innate power each person has in this life. Everyone has unique talents, or powers, that affect the world around them. Children need to be taught how to use those powers for good and feel their emotions. When “conceal, don’t feel” is the mantra, more harm than good will come of it. When we feel and learn to manage emotions, we live a fuller life.

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  • 2. Vulnerability

  • Vulnerability is allowing yourself to feel connection by letting down guards and barriers and being real. The ability to be vulnerable allows the building of trust and love in relationships.

  • Frozen illustrates many relationships, and each teaches how vulnerability enhances relationships.

  • Elsa/Anna

  • When Elsa pushes Anna away, she builds a wall, blocking their ability to build a deep connection. We see moments of connection throughout the movie, but each time, that connection is broken when Elsa chooses to follow fear over love. When love and vulnerability are chosen over fear, the relationship between Elsa and Anna thrives, and a true bond of sisterhood is formed.

  • Hans/Anna

  • Because Hans and Anna don’t take much time to get to know one another on a deep, emotionally intimate level, Anna ends up betrayed by Hans. In real life, you can be betrayed by someone you feel you have connected with on a deep, emotional level. However, the chances of that betrayal are more slim, and the chances of developing a strong relationship are higher, when both parties allow themselves to be vulnerable to the relationship.

  • Kristoff/Anna

  • Anna and Kristoff start off as friends (or not even friends at all — their relationship was built from the ground up.) Because they had a pressure-free relationship, they were both able to completely be themselves. They opened up to each other in ways that may not have occurred had there been some kind of romantic pressure. Eventually, they found love, and we are led to assume they had a stable relationship in the future. Their relationship has the power to be stable because they were able to be vulnerable and true to themselves as their relationship progressed.

  • Vulnerability is important in family relationships. As parents being vulnerable with your children allows them to feel safe and secure in talking to you about heavy things. In that case, they will (hopefully) be more likely to trust and confide in you rather than learning things from other sources.

  • Relationships in the family need to be built on trust and love. Part of the foundation of trust and love comes from the power of vulnerability.

  • 3. Love

  • Olaf gives a good general description of love: “Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.” In the family, many types of love exist. We feel love for our spouse, love for our children, love for our siblings, and love for our parents.

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  • True love is pure. It is motivated by a simple desire for the other person’s welfare, rather than our own selfish desires.

  • We see that as Kristoff leaves Anna behind with her “true love,” then comes rushing back through a terrible storm to save Anna when he knows she needs help. We see the evidence of true love more specifically when Anna gives her life to protect Elsa from being slain by the hands of the selfish Hans.

  • This movie is set apart by others because the “act of true love” is between sisters, rather than lovers. That alone teaches a powerful lesson of the bonds of love in a family. In an ideal, functional family, the bonds of true love would be powerful and validating to each relationship that exists in the family.

  • The family is the fundamental unit of society. When we follow the lessons taught in Frozen, we will have stronger families thus a stronger society.

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Kilee has a degree in Family and Consumer Science Education. She is passionate about parenting and child development, human relations, nutrition and wellness, culinary, and fashion design.

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