Lion King still holds the record as one of the most powerful Disney movies ever. Perhaps it is because of the life lessons it teaches us:
- Overcoming the past. Everyone has a story with a struggle or tragedy or traumatic experience they either had to overcome or have yet to overcome. Lion King may show us what life will look like when we live with past hurt. Although Simba ran away from his past after the sudden death of his father, Mufasa, the past still followed him with a stinger. He couldn’t escape his past and the only way he could heal and thoroughly overcome it was to go back to his homeland, Pride Rock, and confront it.
- Never forget where you come from. When success comes in like a whirlwind and opportunity and promotion knock at your door, moving up in life causes many to forget what keeps them grounded. For a while, Simba tried to forget his past, but when it came time for him to return home and take his place as king, he remembered the circumstances behind it. No matter how much prosperity we encounter in life, we must remember that our past keeps us humble and our sense of self remains intact.
- “Even kings get scared.”This is what Simba questioned of Mufasa when he perceived his father as “fearless.” We all have a “king” or “queen” who we believe is never afraid; they seem invincible. Whether this king or queen be our parents, teachers, older siblings, community leaders, or Hollywood role models, they can’t help that they are still human and have insecurities, fears, and apprehensions, just as we do. The greatest role models aren’t those who project nothing but perfection, but those who are transparent and relatable; those who we can identify with.
- Enemies may be closer than you think. Not to take a dark turn here, but it is true that some haters can be in your own home or social circle. That was the case with Mufasa and Simba when Scar (Mufasa’s brother, Simba’s uncle) didn’t want Simba to become king. How do we deal with haters who are in such proximity? Be successful! Smile at them! Pray for them! Show them kindness, regardless of their harshness. Be unbothered because they feed on your emotional reactions, and they will likely find a new target.
- Lessons in grieving. Losing someone so close to you feels like a deep puncture. Lion King shows us that it is okay to grieve for those who have transitioned. It also shows us that we can move past it and create a powerful future, not despite our loss, but because of our loss. Towards the end of the film, Simba takes a long, emotionally challenging, yet courageous, walk up Pride Rock to claim his place as the new king. While he makes his way to the top, it is possible that he is reflecting on his past, his father’s death, and all the devastation Scar caused in his homeland. Perhaps Simba took those elements and made them his motivation to serve as a great king. After all, he just couldn’t wait to be king!
- Don’t let jealousy puppet you. This was evil Scar’s personal problem. He was always envious of Mufasa because he wanted to be in charge. When he found out that Simba would reign as king after Mufasa, he staged a stampede with wild beasts to take them both out. Those who are controlled by jealousy bear no good fruit, and their land remains barren and hostile. This movie reveals that people who are led by jealousy never win in the end.
- Perpetuate a family legacy. One of the main purposes of having children is to teach them to carry on a legacy and possibly complete the work that God has started in the preceding generation. That was Simba’s purpose. He was to continue and reshape Mufasa’s legacy which was established and perpetuated by all the previous kings who passed on before them. Simba knew he had to start his reign sooner or later and clean up the mess that Scar created.
What other childhood movies can teach you such important life lessons?