lessonsfrompinocchio

I think it has been about two weeks since I have posted. I really am very sorry. Real life has been very busy this month. But I am going to try to get back to being regular!

I love Pinocchio! When it comes to timeless classics, Pinocchio is at the top of my list. Of course, there was quite a bit of pressure for Pinocchio to succeed, it was the second animated feature ever, it came right off the tail of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which shattered the box office and changed movie making forever. Walt followed up his success with a little puppet who wanted to be a real boy. In this movie, we see several life lessons that, just like the movie itself, are timeless.

Lying is wrong

Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. Pinocchio tells a lie to the Blue Fairy. He tells her that instead of going to school he got kidnapped (tied up in a sack) by two big monsters with big green eyes who then chopped him into fire wood (He was clearly not the best liar in the world!) when in truth he skipped school in order to become an actor. Of course, with every lie that Pinocchio told his nose got bigger and bigger. The Blue Fairy gives Pinocchio a nugget of truth when he asks about his nose, “A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face”. Now, Pinocchio’s nose growing is just a metaphor for the consequences of lies, obviously our noses do not grow with every lie we tell; but the lesson still remains the same: A lie only grows into another, bigger lie. Eventually, you will be caught in your lie, because, as the saying went, it will become as plain as the nose on your face. Not only is lying wrong, but it also is not smart. Lying neglects to think of long-term consequences.

The influence of friends

Every major wrong decision that Pinocchio makes in the movie is because someone led him astray. The first time, Honest John and Gideon convinced Pinocchio to become an actor instead of going to school. The second time, Honest John and Gideon again convinced Pinocchio to take a vacation to Pleasure Island (I still do not understand why Disney World would build a place called Pleasure Island, given the circumstances in this movie!). It was also a bad friend, Lampwick, that continued to encourage Pinocchio to do bad things once at Pleasure Island. You could make the argument that Pinocchio was just weak and people could easily manipulate him. That may or may not be true, but I have seen that this plays out in many people’s lives, weak or otherwise. We are often influenced by the people that we keep around us. In fact, I would argue that one of the greatest influences in your life, for better or worse, comes from the people that you choose to spend time with. Word of advice, choose your friends wisely. Surround yourself with people who make you a better person.

Pleasure is inferior to responsibility

Do you know what pleasure did to those boys? It turned them into donkeys! Pinocchio should not have been on Pleasure Island, he should have been home; instead of going to work for Stromboli, he should have gone to school. If Pinocchio had simply chosen to do the right thing instead of just doing what felt good, he would have been saved from being thrown into a bird cage and almost transforming into a donkey. Just because something feels good and brings pleasure does not mean that it is good.

Now, you may have noticed that I skipped over one really big one. The lesson of “Always let your conscience be your guide”. There is an entire, utterly catchy, song about it. Do not get me wrong, the concept of “your conscience being your guide”, is good advice if your conscience is grounded in truth. But I have met too many people who have done inappropriate things all while feeling like they were doing a good thing. If they believed they were doing right, was their conscience guiding them? Yes! But were they still doing wrong? Yep. So you cannot always trust your conscience. Turn on the news and look at the crimes and wrongdoing that were committed by people who sincerely believed they were doing the right thing.

Those are a few of the lessons to learn from Pinocchio. Let me know if you have any questions or comments! Also, what other movie would you like me to dissect for “self-help lessons”?