I’ve been a mom a really long time. My oldest child is 27, my youngest is 8. Some of my friends say that means I probably “know it all” and that “not much gets by me.” And, I admit that sometimes I let all that knowledge and experience go to my head. Sometimes I do feel like I do sort of know it all, and what I don’t know I make an effort to learn. But sometimes parents learn in unexpected ways, and the movie Inside Out is one of them.
About Inside Out
Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Midwestern girl, but her world turns upside-down when she and her parents move to San Francisco. Riley’s emotions — led by Joy (Amy Poehler) — try to guide her through this difficult, life-changing event. However, the stress of the move brings Sadness (Phyllis Smith) to the forefront. When Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind, the only emotions left in Headquarters are Anger, Fear and Disgust.
How can Riley deal with all the big changes in her life with Joy and Sadness out of the picture?
Listen for the voice talents of:
Amy Poehler as Joy
Mindy Kaling as Disgust
Phyllis Smith as Sadness
Bill Hader as Fear
Lewis Black as Anger
Diane Lane as “Mom” and Kyle MacLachlan as “Dad.”
5 things I learned about parenting from Inside Out
Lesson 1 – Watch, listen and learn what’s really happening with my children
I don’t know it all. I really don’t. That’s not easy to admit. Because I have lots of experience and I’ve been a single parent it all fell on me. I had to “know it all.” I can be thankful that I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in my children’s heads, but I truly can only know so much. Instead of being convinced of my own ability to know what’s going on in their minds I need to actually take the time to watch, listen and then learn. Maybe they are simply doing what they do to make me feel better.
Lesson 2 – Let your kids tell you anything – even when it may scare, shock, anger or hurt your feelings
I admit this is a lesson I’ve already learned. But it helped to hear it again. My children tell me frequently, “I love that I can tell you anything.” While I’ve known that it’s something they appreciate, it is not always the easiest thing to do and frequently it may (and does) shock or hurt me, whether hurt my feelings or hurt me because they were hurt. But only by keeping the lines of communication open can I really know what is going on in their lives and in the lives of those around them. Who knows maybe after listening I may even be able to provide a bit of comfort, help or advice. Or maybe I can just be the one the talk to until they figure it all out on their own.
Lesson 3 – I can pave the way, after all my fear is what keeps them safe right? But I can’t avoid the bumps in the road.
There are going to be bumps in the road. Things are not always going to go smoothly for my children. I can pave the way to the best of my ability by providing for them emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. But I am not doing them any favors by covering up the potholes in the road they are on. What I can do is provide a map to teach them other way to get where they want to be as well as teach them when to switch into their own version of 4 wheeling in order to overcome those potholes in the road.
Lesson 4 – Being a kid can really stink
It’s been a long time since I’ve been a kid. And it’s been a long time since my oldest has been a “kid.” But I have young ones and I know that being a child can really stink. There’s bullies and peer pressure and so many other things to deal with. In the case of Riley and her family it was moving across country, losing friends, a new school and financial pressures. As a parent I don’t want to hide these pressures from my children or they won’t know how to handle them when they need to, but I also hate that they have to. And, that is why being a child really stinks, but you do just have to learn to deal with it often long before you are ready to.
On the other hand – it can be pretty terrific! (I can hear Joy’s voice inside my head)
Lesson 5 – Without a little bit of anger, fear, disgust or sadness there would be no joy
Sometimes as a parent I am too wrapped up in making sure my children are “happy.” But they aren’t always going to be happy. There are going to be times when they are scared, angry, upset, and disgusted. What’s important is that they learn how to deal with those times, and then enjoy the joy that comes their way even more.
It’s easy, we can learn about being a parent, even from watching a movie. We can learn about ourselves and about others. Or we can go just to enjoy the movie. Either reason you give works. Just go see it – and see if it turns your world Inside Out!
Disclosure: This was part of a press junket, sponsored by Disney Studios. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.