You can learn a lot from books, movies and television shows.
School and life experiences are, of course, invaluable in learning. There is no argument with that.
It’s also important to note that not all books, movies and television shows teach us good lessons. Some of them actually send bad messages that can have an effect on young children who grow up in this market, see all the violence in entertainment and arguably can become desensitized to violence.
However, I think there are many good things we can learn from popular books, movies and television shows. In an age where those media are dominant, it is a great way to teach positive lessons, inspire hope and provide good, fun entertainment.
For example, the Harry Potter books and movies give many good messages. Aside from the good versus evil, Harry learns along his journey the value of friendship, love, loyalty and the role his choices play in shaping what future he wants to create.
In the book and movie version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, for instance, headmaster Albus Dumbledore says “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
These are lessons we all need to remember no matter what our age is. It’s great to see elements like that in a widely popular series of books and movies.
Other examples of good lessons are easy to find. Mickey Mouse has said many inspirational quotes in his long-spanning Disney career. Those nuggets include:
• “Remember to pass it around: a simple smile and hello to anyone means a lot.”
• “Your ability to grow is dependent on your ability to forgive.”
• “Life is not about the people who act true to your face. It’s about the people who remain true behind your back.”
• “Happiness is not about having or not having problems. Everyone has problems, but not everyone is unhappy.”
Mickey Mouse is a loveable cartoon character with words of wisdom to offer during his adventures. Imagine how much friendlier and lovely the world would be if we all listened to Mickey’s advice and shared it with our family, friends and neighbours.
Another book series with good lessons is the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini. Eragon is just a boy when he is thrust into a world and responsibilities he doesn’t understand or is ready for. Along the way he learns how companions can help him with his struggles and, yes, he makes mistakes. But he learns something from them.
Before his cousin Roran leaves his home early in the first book, Eragon’s uncle gives Roran some words of advice.
“Show respect for those in power, but don’t follow them blindly. Judge with logic and reason, but comment not. Consider none your superior in life. Treat all fairly or they will seek revenge. Be careful with your money. Hold fast to your beliefs and others will listen. Of the affairs of love, my only advice is to be honest. That’s your most powerful tool to unlock a heart or gain forgiveness.”
Of course these are lessons parents should teach their children and there are also lessons that sometimes children can teach adults. There are lessons adults can teach adults.
But there is more than one way to learn and by communicating messages through pop culture, it’s another way to spread messages.
The final inspirational quote from pop culture I’ll leave you with is one from the movie The Help, based on the book by Kathryn Stockett. One of the characters, Aibileen Clark, tells a little girl: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.