A day after they watched it, I tried to download it and was able to watch at home. I found some parallel insights in Raising Wise Dads, Moms and Kids by Dr. Grace Shankuan Koo on the chapter Raising Emotionally Wise Dads, Moms and Kids.
Some things I learned both from the movie and the book:
Know Thy Emotions
It was good that this movie addressed five types of emotions. Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. In Dr. Grace’s book, she said that the first lesson a child has to master is to identify what he or she is feeling. This movie, mentioned the five basic emotions to help our kids, and even us, label the things we feel everyday. At least, if we know what we feel, we can respond better. Like what they say in G.I. Joe (the animation), knowing is half the battle. (not my generation though,i just heard it on from the oldies :))
Invest in Making Joyful Memories
It may sound easy, but in reality, when bills pile up, pressures at work set in, misunderstanding between moms and dads, it will be very difficult to maintain a joyful atmosphere. But this is the challenge as parents. Remember the core joyful memories that Riley had? All of them were because both the mom and dad was there. Before thinking of what toys our kids would make them happy, or what activities we can enroll them to, let’s think of the more simple things. Sometimes, the most effective way to make joyful core memories is to simply be there.
Last weekend, we went into a children’s party and was lucky to play in Kidzville. For those attending the party, we’re free, but other guests are allowed to get in as long as they pay. And for the majority of the paying guests that went in, I saw Dads and Moms, leaving their kids with their yayas to play inside. Nothing wrong, but when you think about it, maybe from Monday to Friday, both parents are out working which means yaya is taking care of the children… Then on weekends where we should spend more time with our kids, we still see parents just leaving them with their yayas again. So for those joyful core memories, do we really want our yayas to be there instead of us?
Feeling sadness to remember joy.
The climax of the story was for Riley to finally say to her parents that she was sad and she missed Minnesota. From there, both her parents was able to console her and moved on to welcome joy in the next scenes. In life, it takes a lot of experience to determine that we need to stop, cry a bit, get in touch with sadness so we could find joy again. I remember the time when Champee lost Ate Minnie (her favorite pillow). She cried buckets of tears and took a lot of effort and time for us to make her happy during that family vacation. But then, when we went home and got Ate Minnie, the joy she felt was indescribable. For me as a son, when mommy died early this year, there are random sadness attacks that I encounter. But I feel joy everytime I get reminded of the happy childhood i had with her and how strong I became so that I can control my emotions when rearing my two girls.
As parents, we should be very mindful of the things that our kids see from us. Have we raised our voices even with a slightly higher pitch to each other when we’re stressed out? These short bursts of emotions are enough to zap the joy out of our kids when they see it… or should I say, feel it. In the scene where the mom and dad were asking how Riley’s first day at school was… the dad let anger control him.
As you can notice, the leader of the emotions is Joy, not anger nor disgust. Chaos went into Riley’s actions when Joy was out of the control room. Probably because of all these emotions, Joy is something you have to be conscious about. Something you think and control. Something you make effort to make it control our day or life. Sure, there are lots of pressures daily in the environments we live in, but learning how to stay “Joyful” during these times will be the best gift we could ever pass on to our kids.