In Disney Pixar's animated movie "Inside Out," 11-year-old Riley has just moved from her hometown in Minnesota to the foreign and odd (they put broccoli on pizza!) city of San Francisco. The personified emotions inside her head -- Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger -- try their best to keep Riley happy -- Joy tries especially hard -- but maybe Joy can’t fix everything on her own. Here are our 5 key takeaway from watching Pixar's Inside Out:
Lesson #1 A child’s emotions are just as real and valid as an adult’s. Just because the emotions are inside a small person’s body don’t make them less important. They’re as real and overpowering to the small person experiencing them as to an adult.
Lesson #2 Happy memories are important but so are happy-sad ones. (Possible spoilers ahead) As the movie shows, happy memories make for happy children. But to make important memories sometimes we have to go through sad ones too -- and sometimes, angry ones, and frightening ones and the occasional disgusting ones too. Children (and adults) need a whole range of emotions to grow and learn.
Lesson #3 It helps to know a child’s “personality islands”. Riley has a Goofball island, an Honesty Island, a Hockey Island, a Friendship Island and a Family Island because these are the things that are most important to her and that give her the most happiness. The movie offers an excellent opportunity for parents to get to know their child more. After watching the movie, try asking what your child's "personality islands" are and learn what things in life he or she values most.
Lesson #4 Sometimes a good cry will make things better. Parents just want their children to be happy. But forcing happiness on a child when they’re clearly upset about something won’t push them out of their gloomy state. Recognize that there’s a need to listen, understand and empathize. That's something we learned from Sadness when she sat down and talked to Riley's imaginary friend, Bing Bong, when he was deeply saddened that Riley was growing up and moving on from him; the opposite of Joy's ineffective and unproductive strategy of simply distracting Bing Bong from what's upsetting him.
Lesson #5 Broccoli and pizza don’t mix.
Photo screenshot from Inside Out (2015)
Riley, Riley’s mom, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Fear and we too agree that broccoli doesn’t belong on a pizza. This isn’t really a lesson about emotions but we figured that it was too important not to include as well. As Anger said, “Congratulations, San Francisco! You’ve ruined pizza!”
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"Inside Out" opens in cinemas nationwide on Wednesday, August 19! Watch the official trailer: