Ever since the Disney musical film “Frozen” was released, not a day has gone by when I don’t hear at least one reference to it from my five-year-old daughter. And I don’t think I am alone.
Everyone in her class seems to have memorized the lyrics to all the songs, and the idea of snow, snowflakes and snowmen is now as familiar to them as if they were raised in a country with four seasons.
But it’s not just the little girls whose hearts have melted over this “frozen” delight. It has won Best Animated Film at the Golden Globe awards, and locally, there is a proliferation of clever Filipino versions of some songs online.
There is “Bumitaw” for “Let It Go” and my personal favorite, “Gusto Mo Bang Gumawa ng Taong Niyebe?” for “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?”
It’s not hard to see why this movie has become such a hit. The story is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” with Queen Elsa having secret magical powers over the elements of winter.
In a heated discussion with her younger sister, Princess Anna, her secret is revealed when she accidentally traps her kingdom in an eternal winter. Desperate to be free from the burden of her power, she runs away but Anna chases after her, and what happens next is an epic adventure where people’s true characters are tested and revealed and the sisters eventually learn that all they need is each other.
It has the elements that appeal to children—magical powers, cute lovable characters, beautiful princesses, adventure and catchy songs.
But underneath all that are lovely gems of wisdom that are much appreciated by the older viewers and which, hopefully, the kids can catch as well.
Modern fairy tale
For Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be good to explore some lessons in love that we’ve picked up from this modern fairy tale, and see that our little princesses learn them as well.
1. Do not accept a marriage proposal from someone you just met, and with whom the only thing you have in common is “finishing each other’s sandwiches.”
I was raised on fairy tales and am a hopeless romantic, but this whole “love at first sight” thing can be pretty misleading and cause a lot of problems in relationships and marriages when the rose-colored glasses eventually come off and reality sets in.
I hope I can raise my daughter to believe in and enjoy the magic of love and romance, but to have enough wisdom and prudence to make sensible decisions using her heart and mind.
2. True love drives out fear.
Elsa is paralyzed by her fear and eventually runs away, thinking she is better off alone but free, rather than living with her loved ones in fear. It is only when Anna shows how much she loves her sister that Elsa also learns to love herself. She finally accepts herself and allows herself to express her love again, and because of this, she is able to conquer her fear and move on.
Similarly, there will probably be many times in the lives of our children during which their greatest enemy will be their fear—whether it is fear of failure, of the unknown, or of getting hurt.
But of course we want to be there to support and love them through it all.
3. True love isn’t about always saying yes.
I really like this. We see Elsa shutting off Anna from her life, not because she doesn’t love her sister, but because she loves her so much that she is terrified she will accidentally hurt her again.
While I think it is a misguided decision, the intention is there and, as parents, we know that true love is about doing what is best for the one you love, no matter how painful it may be.
True love is also not simply saying “yes” to everything, but standing firm and saying “no” when our loved ones are going the wrong direction. Saying “no” often makes us parents the villains in the lives of our kids, but we must put our foot down and do what is best for them.
Who else will care enough to do so, and do what it takes to make sure they grow up properly and be the best they can be?
Against the odds
4. True love doesn’t give up.
Who can argue with this? It’s touching to watch Anna always knocking on her big sister’s door and waiting for the day she will open it until, as a young lady, Anna finally stops trying. Despite the rejection, she never stops loving her sister and believing that one day, they would go back to what they once were.
When Elsa gets upset and runs off, Anna follows because she believes in their love for each other. She doesn’t give up. In the end, Anna uses her last ounce of strength to perform an “act of true love” for her sister.
5. “Some people are worth melting for… Just maybe not right this second!”
That’s Olaf’s famous line, which melts hearts and makes him possibly the most famous snowman, next to Frosty. However, it’s only the first part that most people remember.
It’s the second line I would like my kids to remember when they start thinking about love. Love is everything they will dream it to be, and even more, but they have to know that true love is worth waiting for.
They need to be patient and hopefully they won’t give all of themselves right away.
6. Love applies to our furry friends as well.
I grew up with dogs, and it’s no surprise that my kids have been surrounded by dogs since the day they were born. Long before romance comes into the picture, our pets are there to welcome us home every day and make us feel like the most special person in the world.
7. Love and accept yourself first.
Elsa grows up ashamed of her power and trying hard to hide from the world, never realizing that her “curse” is a blessing she can use rather than fear. Once she learns to accept and love herself completely, she is transformed into a beautiful and confident young woman who learns to take control of her power and life.
In real life, there are stories about wonderful children who are bullied by their peers because of the things that make them unique and special. While some are strong enough to hold their ground, others allow themselves to believe the cruel words of bullies and end up with low self-esteem.
This movie is a good reminder to our children that they are special, and to love and accept themselves rather than rely on others for validation.
8. Even the coldest snowmen (and people) could use a warm hug.
Olaf is a lovable snowman who “likes warm hugs.” Unfortunately, most people who need “warm hugs” from us aren’t as adorable or easy to love as Olaf.
But as the popular saying of Rev. John Watson goes, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” We need to remind our children that everyone can use a warm hug or an extra dose of understanding and love.
Teach them to be kind and generous with their warm hugs and to give everyone a chance, rather than quickly passing judgment on others.
9. True love is everywhere.
The beauty of “Frozen” is that while it does have the romantic interest to provide a little spark, in the end, it shows that true love could be found not only in a man. For countless decades, fairy tales have instilled the idea that true love comes only in the form of a handsome prince we fall in love with at first sight.
Love is everywhere, in our family and friends, and just as powerful and beautiful.
10. “We aren’t saying that you can change him, cause people don’t really change. We’re only saying that love’s a force that’s powerful and strange.
“People make bad choices if they’re mad or scared or stressed, but throw a little love their way, and you’ll bring out their best. True love brings out the best.”
To cap our “Frozen” love notes, here are lines from the Trolls’ song, “Fixer Upper,” a lovely way to remember two very important things. “We can’t change those we love, but we can help bring out the best in them by loving them in the best way we know how.”