I took my daughter Jasmine to the new Disney Cinderella movie this past weekend. While I’ve seen the original many times as a child, I was excited to see this new spin on an old story.
What I did not realize was that although it included the traditional love story between a girl and a prince, there was an overwhelming theme of courage and kindness throughout the entire story.
Through scene after scene, the movie portrays Cinderella as showing kindness to others: to workers, mice, even her cruel stepmother. Even at the height of her distress, after being left behind from the ball and in tears, she shows kindness — when an old woman asks for a glass of milk or something to eat, she sets aside her own problems to help someone in need. And her kindness is rewarded as she is soon after swept off and on her way to the ball.
The idea of kindness as a strength and not a weakness resonates with me, as Kyle and I have been both learning ourselves and teaching our children kindness these past few years. In a world that would tell you to fight for what is yours, hang on to what you’ve earned, and don’t let anyone take anything from you, we have decided to teach our kids something far different. We want our children to give, to share, to understand that everything they (and we) have is to be shared, held lightly, and given away to meet the needs of others. To realize that we are all responsible to care for one another, love, and offer kindness freely. It’s a dream, I know, but one I hope to pursue wholeheartedly.
And that is why, last Saturday afternoon in a darkened movie theater, I found myself with tears in my eyes as I watched a portrayal of a brave young woman who time and time again chose kindness over bitterness. Compassion over anger. And forgiveness over resentment.
The truths found in this old story resonated with me. As we left the show, I asked Jasmine what she thought the movie was about. Her response? Kindness…and love.
It allowed an opportunity for us to discuss, once again, why kindness matters. How there is strength to be found in showing kindness. Being kind doesn’t mean you are a pushover or a doormat. Rather, it is the ability to see people, with all their flaws and imperfections, and love them as they are, because we know they love us as we are.
Humanity could use a little more kindness. A little more compassion. And maybe even a few more Cinderellas.