Family flicks that teach us courage

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FAMILY TIME — Movies have a way of teaching us essential life lessons, sometimes without us even realizing it. Interestingly enough, some of the best lessons come from films made for children that you can enjoy with your family.

Nelson Mandela once said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Here are four characters from great movies that can inspire us all to have courage and conquer our fears.

Dorothy — The Wizard of Oz

The magical land of Oz is not a place for the faint of heart. Dorothy Gale finds this out firsthand when a twister sweeps her away from her home in Kansas and lands her in the middle of Oz. In order to get home, Dorothy must follow the yellow brick road with her friends, a scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion, to enlist the help of a great and powerful wizard.

Courage comes in many forms, and unlike the gift presented to the cowardly lion, courage is not something that can be given from one to another. It must be discovered inside ourselves when we face our fears. True courage, the kind Dorothy shows over and over again in this movie, is never giving up even when the journey gets hard.

Simba — The Lion King

In the beginning of “The Lion King,” Simba is a young cub looking for adventure and the chance to prove he is just like his dad, Mufasa. As a result, he gets caught in a trap of hyenas and it is up to Mufasa to rescue his son. After the danger passes, Mufasa explains to Simba that “being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble,” and it’s a lesson that sticks with him.

Later on in the movie, after finding out about the suffering in the Pridelands he left behind, Simba also learns that being brave means facing the problems in front of you.

Being brave requires a knowledge of good and evil and the courage to fight for what is right.

Harry Potter — Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

If there is one person in the movies who shows courage over and over again, it’s Harry Potter. From saving the sorcerer’s stone to defeating Voldemort, Harry’s heroic deeds inspire those around him to keep fighting against the dark forces of the world.

In “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” Harry comes face to face with all of his darkest fears in the form of the dementors. These creatures that feed off the fear and unhappiness of the world are the stuff of nightmares, yet Harry learns to overcome their dark influences. This is also the sequel in which Harry meets the man said to be responsible for his parents’ death, Sirius Black. Even when everyone around him still thinks Sirius is a bad person, Harry knows the truth and does everything he can to protect his godfather, including facing an army of dementors.

Richard — The Pagemaster

Richard Tyler is afraid of everything — heights, monsters, germs, water, you name it. When he takes shelter from a lightning storm in a library, the boy begins the greatest adventure imaginable. Transformed into a cartoon, Richard dives into the beloved tales of classic literature in search of the green EXIT sign, and with each turn of the page he confronts each of his biggest fears.

Richard travels through the horror, adventure and fantasy sections of the vast library, discovering his own courage, but it isn’t until the magical Pagemaster points out his strength that Richard truly sees himself as brave. Sometimes, like Richard, the biggest thing standing in the way of our own courage is our own self.

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Okfor ages12+