Even though the weather outside has been hot and humid, like any summer in Florida, the temperatures in the Zelenka household have been downright frigid. Gloves have been worn, along with hats, scarves and other items from the winter department.
Disney's movie Frozen set off an eternal – at least since the first viewing in June – winter in my house. We listen to the songs, we reenact the scenes, we sing, we dress up as if in the tundra, and we watch the movie (albeit, in moderation on the last one, I think we’ve watched it 5 or 6 total times thus far).
And, I’m not ashamed to admit that I thoroughly enjoy the entire process, and that I can do a pretty decent Sven!
Despite how beautiful the animation, musical score and dialogue is, I have been most impressed by the themes. I’ve written before about how much I dislike the entire “Disney Princess” phenomenon, especially as the father of two young girls. As such, this is the first “princess” movie my girls have seen, and it’s not likely that we will convert anytime soon. But, of all of the movies that fit into the genre, I am glad that this was the one that resonated with my kids.
Love is an overarching theme throughout the movie and (SPOILER ALERT!) the anecdote to a “cold” heart. The best part is that, for once, it isn’t romantic love that is romanticized; rather, sacrificial love is promoted. Kristoff is willing to give up his love for Anna so that she can be saved, Olaf is willing to melt for Anna, and Anna is willing to die for her sister.
Olaf: “Some people are worth melting for.”
Olaf: “An act of true love will thaw a frozen heart.”
Elsa: "Love will thaw...love...of course."
Trolls (Fixer-Upper song): “We’re only saying that love’s a force that’s powerful and strange. People make bad choices if they’re mad, or scared, or stressed, but throw a little love their way and you’ll bring out their best.”
As we prepare to enter the 2014 – 15 school year, and undoubtedly await countless Annas and Elsas for Halloween, I pray that the messages of this movie can resonate with more than just my daughters. Imagine a school filled with teachers who choose sacrificial love in regard to all of their students. Consider the constructive conversations between parents and staff when love is exchanged across the table. Reflect on a school of students who see the importance of putting the needs of others before their own.
Jesus commands us:
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you (John 15: 12 –14).
A secular movie, to which my daughter Catherine refers as “Go” (because of the fact that she serves as a great back-up singer to Elizabeth and gets the last word of most lines of a song right), can offer a message that echoes this commandment and many others better most homilies, religious movies and blogs on Catholic education – especially this one.
Let us ensure that our school, because of the sacrificial love we show to each other, may just be worthy of the title “Catholic” this year and always.