This past weekend, Pixar's "Finding Dory" was released in theaters, a full 13 years since the release of it's prequel, "Finding Nemo." Nineties babies have been waiting for this movie for years, and it's finally here. "Finding Dory" bring us '90s babies back to our childhood, while also reinstating some valuable life lessons. Audiences of every age can learn a lot from the characters and plot, such as:
1. Family is home.
Dory desperately wants to find her parents, and by doing so, she wants to find her home. Family is home. You do not necessarily have to retrace steps to the location of where you used to live to feel home; in fact, that will leave you unsatisfied. Instead, if you're looking for Home, you've got to find the family members who mean the most to you.
2. Disabilities do not define your entire existence.
Maybe you prefer being alone over being with others, or maybe you worry about everything. That's okay. But you do not always have to be that way; you can get out of your comfort zone and try new things. If you prefer being alone, but then make a great friend, you may find yourself preferring company over being lonely. Who knows?
3. Sometimes, snapping at someone and being mean can lead to a negative outcome.
Maybe you shouldn't reveal all the negative things that come to mind when you think of your friend. Saying what you feel in a time of anger and distress could lead to a reaction you would never want in a million years. It could lead to hurt, confusion, conflict, etc., and that's not something you want.
4. You can fix wrongdoings.
Yes, we all slip up and make mistakes, but if you really want to fix what you said or what you did, there is a way. Don't give up.
5. There is always another way.
When you're in a bad situation, or when you feel trapped and don't know the way to get out, take a break from evaluation and look at your surroundings. Watch what is going on in your life, or in the environment you are in. Soon enough, you'll think of an idea of how to get out of this sticky situation, and you'll do so without overthinking it.
6. Sometimes you need to ask yourself, "What would Dory do?"
Yes, Dory is a fish. However, she symbolizes so much more than that. Her personality and her overall being was created to motivate and inspire audiences. Dory, despite her short-term memory loss disability, does amazing things. She makes her way from Marlin and Nemo's home all the way to the the jewel of Morro Bay California because of her determination. She gets herself out of the toughing table at the kid zone exhibit (where kids touch and grab the fish in the tank). Everything she accomplishes on her own is because of her unique Dory mindset, a mindset we could all learn something from.
7. You can do anything you set your mind to.
We learn this lesson from a lot of characters and from a lot of people, but I am so glad it was reinstated in this film. As long as you put your heart and soul into something, and you do everything you can to make sure it will happen, you can accomplish whatever you want. You can prove that your disability does not limit you by doing something passed your limitations. You can find your parents after years and years of being apart.
8. You will never be lost forever.
No matter how long you have been lost, or how terrible it feels, you will get out of this slump. You will find the people, the feelings, or the life that you missed. You won't remain in a lost-state for the rest of your life. Things will be okay as long as you don't give up.
9. The importance of rescue, rehabilitate, and release.
In the movie, this is a common saying. This theme is very important, as it applies to both human interaction with animals and with each other. By taking animals home or placing them in exhibits, you are removing them from their family and/or home environment. Yes, they can make more friends who can become family-like, but their life will never be the same. Hence the important of rehabilitation and release after the rescue. This also applies to human interaction. If someone you love is in a dark place, rescue them from their thoughts. Rehabilitate their mindset and teach them the better way to think/act in a depressing, sad, or infuriating situation. Then, after you help make a positive change, release them and let them free. Let them feel independent and strong.
10. People with disabilities should have some independence and be trusted to make decisions of their own.
Towards the end of the movie, Dory wants to venture off to see the beautiful view in the ocean. Marlin doesn't trust her to be able to do so alone, so he follows her. He thinks he's being sneaky, but Dory knows he is there.
Dory proves that she can make a decision for herself, and that she can accomplish it successfully, without getting lost or being forgetful. This is powerful because often we assume that caregivers, parents, and friends know what is best for our family members with disabilities. We assume we know what is healthy, fun, and helpful, without giving them the chance to speak their mind on what they want to do or don't want to do. It's unfair to control everything in someone else's life.