Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Parenting 101: Know the plotline *before* renting the Pixar Film

As far as I can tell, one of the first things you do after receiving a foster care placement is to run out to Target to buy supplies. We had plenty of stuff around the house to entertain and clothe a baby, but not much for an older child. So, we all headed off to Target to get essentials. While there, we naturally stopped in the book section to pick up some fun things to read. Our little guy saw the Kung Fu Panda 2 book, and was psyched. And, having seen the first Kung Fu Panda, I couldn't blame him - the story was a positive and fun one. So we bought it.

Later that night, before bed, we had him read it to us.

SPOILER ALERT - Stop reading now if you haven't seen Kung Fu Panda 2

So, yeah, apparently doing a little checking up ahead of time would have been helpful. Even though the book is only a dozen or so pages long, it covered how Po (the main character) finds out he's adopted, has a crisis of faith when he believes his parents abandoned him, and finally comes to terms with the truth that his parents loved him very much, even if they had to let him go. Finally he appreciates that his adoptive father is as much a parent as his birth parents. Definitely heavy stuff - way more heavy than I intended to tackle just 24 hours after we started this adventure.

But, in the end, the story was a positive one and the book format may even be a good way to approach it. It allowed for easy pausing and discussion that the DVD version wouldn't allow.

A quick Google search shows that I'm not the only one who saw Kung Fu Panda 2 and thought it was a useful learning tool.

Thinking back through kids movies, I suppose loss of a parent and/or adoption is actually quite common. Still, doing a bit of research ahead of time probably would have been warranted.

Update: I should add, after we read the book version of Kung Fu Panda 2, we picked up the DVD. Reading the book ahead of time definitely made the movie easier to watch. Our little guy knew that there was a happy ending around the corner, even if there were some tense family related scenes. This strategy is probably one I'd consider using in the future. Read and discuss the book, sit back and enjoy the movie.

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