Earlier in the week, I read a post in which one of my Facebook friends told her followers about a conversation she had with her young daughter. This friend is a single mother.
She described a scene – her daughter playing with her Ken and Barbie dolls. As the little girl played, creating an imaginative romance between them, she asked where her mother’s ‘prince’ was. My friend answered in truth, “I don’t know.” She then made a point about her daughter obviously watching too much Disney.
At times, a child’s innocence makes life more pleasant to digest than reality. But what if Disney told the truth about relationships and falling in love?
I too held on to a Disney-created, hopelessly romantic notion that there was a Prince Charming waiting in the wings to rescue me from my slumber, or from the harsh realities of life. But what if…
What if Disney changed the narrative of those classic Princess movies where girls find true love and happiness only after meeting Prince Charming?
What if the narrative told little girls they could be anything they dream, and encouraged them to wait until they knew they could mentally handle the pressure that comes with loving another soul, instead? What if it encouraged young boys to admire hard work and independence from their first encounter?
Is the reality of love so bad that we can’t be honest about what love is truly all about?
So, while we wait, what should we tell our daughters and our sons? Tell them they cannot save another soul; only God can save a person’s mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being if they allow Him too. Tell our children that their happiness and love begin with themselves. They should be taught that self-love can effectively allow them to love another person.
They should learn that each person is made up of flaws, and that it is not the good that keeps you in love – it is the ability to stay in love with this perfectly flawed person.
Our children should be taught the importance of individuality before committing to another, to avoid the risk of getting lost in their partner’s identity. If we were truthful about life expectations I am sure divorce rates would fall and more people would find patience instead of bitterness. More people would choose love instead of hate, and instead of jealousy they would choose happiness. But that is not where we are as a society.
Our daughters fall gracelessly into heartbreak when love doesn’t feel like the movies or books. Our boys feel the need to be heroes and end up feeling less than when they can’t fill Prince Charming’s shoes.
We have crippled generations into a perception-built by fantasy, and too often we forget… those fantasies are just what they are meant to be – unrealistic and made up worlds.
I want my daughters and/or sons to know that love will cost a healthy sacrifice. To know love will require some compromise, but not at the cost of their creativity. That the right person won’t stifle those ideas, but will help to blossom them for the benefit of them both.
I want my children to see marriage as a partnership and teamwork that makes every dream work. I want them to see the importance of having God as the center and foundation. I want them to see what growing through difficulty and love looks like. To see an argument end peacefully in a loving embrace and a “goodnight” at the end of the day.
Disney may never tell the truth.
But as a functioning adult with a lot of years as a single woman, I have learned by observation and my own experiences that love is not a glass slipper and requires more than a kiss. Love is the epitome of the dirt, grime, and hard work that when executed correctly can shine as brightly as a diamond.
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