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Monsters, Inc.

Borrowed from imdb.com

Henry J. Waternoose: Our city is counting on you to collect those screams. Without scream, we have no power. Yes, it’s dangerous work, and that’s why I need you to be at your best. I need scarers who are confident, tenacious, tough, intimidating. I need scarers like… like… James P. Sullivan.

Since it’s being re-released in 3-D, this seemed like a good time to talk about this great Pixar flick.  It may be animated, but there’s really a lot you can get out of it.

Remember when you were a kid and you were afraid of the monsters in the closet (or under the bed).  What if those monsters weren’t really mean…  but they needed the energy from your screams to power their world.  Well, that’s the story with two of our main characters, Mike (voice talents of Billy Crystal) and Sully (voice talents of John Goodman).  The funny thing, is that these monsters are as afraid of us as we are of them!!!  So when a little girl they lovingly call “Boo” gets into the monster world, it is not only unusual, but something that can get Mike and Sully in BIG trouble and bring all of Monstropolis to its knees.

So, what dare we learn from this monstrous hit…

We scare because we care:  This catchphrase for Monsters, Inc. actually is referring to the fact that they need to scare kids for energy.  However, isn’t this also something that seems to be required to help people understand safety rules?.  We tell them to be careful crossing the street because they might be hit by a car.  We know if we touch fire we can get burned.  In some cases we need to be scared to understand the importance of some safety rules.  Sadly, if people don’t feel threatened, they don’t pay attention.

Laughter works better than scream:  Now, this is going to sound like I’m doing a 180 degree turn from what I said in the previous paragraph, but, when we’re not talking about safety, being happy really does work better than beating people down.  They say that we “catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  And that’s probably true (I’ve never really tried it to prove or disprove it)… but too often we seem to feel like “nice guys finish last” and use that to justify our actions.   But it’s true, admit it, laughter works better than scream.  We see that the “new” thing in companies like Pixar and Google is to create fun workplaces where you can bring your dog, hang out in comfy clothes and have toys around all day.  They find it increases productivity and makes it a place employees want to work.  What I find funny is how this seems to be a new thing.  Granted, this does mean that people do have to be motivated, need to set goals and actually get work done…  But why does it seem like it has to be in such a high pressure environment when companies are proving that a more “fun” atmosphere works well?Now, let’s take this outside the work world.  Can we employ this method in our families?  Remember Mary Poppins?  She encouraged that “in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”  Granted, she was making things fly around the room and such, but does it have to be that way?  I know in my extended family we’d all gather at Grandma’s where, after dinner, there were usually so many dishes and the house was so hot, that we went ahead and hand washed dishes rather than use the dishwasher.  It was usually “girl time” and we got to talk about things we didn’t care to share with the WHOLE dinner table.  It almost wasn’t something anyone minded because we enjoyed that time together.  It wasn’t unusual to break into song or something goofy like that.  We teased each other, laughed and learned.  We can apply this to learning and how we interact with those around us, try to be nice – and laugh when you can (it can be contagious!).

Loss of innocence:  One thing that is mentioned a couple of times during the movie is that children are losing their innocence at younger and younger ages.  Sadly, this one hits so close to home it’s not funny.  I know so many little ones who are watching R rated films that they don’t have to imagine much anymore.  I’ve known of several who felt like it was justified because they didn’t think their kids understood what they were seeing – until something happened one day to make them realize that their kids were understanding things more than they’d thought.  It seems that we’ve gotten to a point now that it will be hard to dial it back.  I just hope it’s not too late.  I’ll admit, we have to let them in on certain things to help keep them safe, but do they really need to see sex scenes, actual violence, vulgar language and various other improprieties for a young audience.  Any ideas on how to help get that innocence back?

Sometimes you’ve gotta growl:  Sometimes, you’ve done everything you can do not to, but sometimes, you’ve just got to growl.  And, it may scare those around us, but it is usually because we love them and we have to get something very important across to them.  Do try to make sure it’s not your first method of getting your point across though.  Be prepared – like I said, it may scare or upset, but when you consider what you’re trying to get across, sometimes it’s got to happen.

Don’t forget to file your paperwork:  Sorry, couldn’t resist!  So…  paperwork…  whether its taxes or children’s artwork, it’s still one we ought to keep in mind, both literally and metaphorically.  What other things might we need to file away – to keep properly stored for a later date?  To you, this could be anything…  finally putting together that scrapbook from your last family vacation, writing down your list of “to do’s” or making new memories with your kids…  This is the sort of thing that may seem silly or mundane, but needs to be done.

So, I hope you’ve gotten a few helpful points out of Monsters, Inc.  This is one of my (and my hubby’s fav’s).  I keep thinking if I have kids, a Monsters, Inc. theme would be awesome – and gender neutral.  😉  Maybe one day.  I promise this little flick has fun in it for kids and adults alike – Pixar really does some wonderful animation work!

God Bless you all!