7 Lessons I Learned From "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off"
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7 Lessons I Learned From "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off"

How Our Favorite Films Teach Us Powerful Life Lessons

7 Lessons I Learned From "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off"
Smithsonian Mag


In light of the Cubs making it to the World Series I can’t help but think of the long list of why I love to be from Chicago. Including one of my all-time favorite movies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the iconic film about a high school senior’s conspicuous adventures the day he decides to ditch school and enjoy the day in downtown Chicago. The hilarity and charm of Ferris’s tall tale grows greater and more magical with every turn. DISCLAIMER: LOADS OF SPOILER ALERTS BELOW. IF YOU HAVE’NT SEEN THIS MOVIE….YOU NEED TO GET ON IT. Priorities man! Although the initial act of cutting school is not advised, the underlying message of young Ferris’s fool play is honest, courageous, and deeply insightful.

1.“How could I possibility be expected to go to school on a day like this?”

It is important to recognize when you need to slow down and give yourself a break. I don’t promote skipping school but I do believe in an occasional mental health day. Psychologytoday.com outlines the importance of play for the body, mind and soul through various studies. Taking time to rest and play is not irresponsible or selfish. It’s necessary to love yourself first in order to be there for others. ** Note this does not apply to individuals with small children and or infants. Sorry…I’ll like your kid’s photos on Facebook.

2.“If I’m going to get busted, it’s not going to be by a guy like that.”

Be courageous and self-aware enough to go for what you want.

3.“Why should he get to skip when everyone else has to go?” – Jeannie

Oh yeah and you’ll spend your whole life trying to convince people that Ferris isn’t sick. People believe what they want to believe. We have to learn to be happy for people and not compare ourselves to others.

4.“Trust me…Sir…I’m a professional.” – Garage attendant.

No. Trust your instinct. It is the best judge of character and if something doesn’t feel right speak up; protect yourself. Your notions are valid.

5.“When the meek get pinched, the bold survive.”

Yes, it’s okay to be assertive but also know putting yourself out there is vulnerability but it’s not weakness. It is scarier and riskier to do nothing. Regret sits deepest in the moments we don’t take. Be bold. Be vulnerable. It’s not weakness. It is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.(Shout out to Brene’ Brown!“Show up. Be seen.”)

6.“Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?” …….Fry? Fry? Fry?”

Obligations calling! Like high school, obligations weasel their ugly head in our lives and never go away. There are endless lists of professional and personal responsibilities. Even vagabonds running from obligations and responsibilities carry the weight of not addressing them. After high school it will be your job. In this culture, it’s a popular assumption that your career defines who you are. It doesn’t. You do. Keep exploring. Stay curious. Remember a job is important on many levels and a job well done is important too but, it’s not going to love you back. Learn to balance your obligations with priorities.

7.“I put up with everything. My old man pushes me around and I never say anything!! He’s not the problem. I’m the problem. I gotta take a stand….I am not going to sit on my ass as the events of my life unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m tired of being afraid”

Be in charge of your life and the behavior you allow in your life; relationships; thoughts.. You set the precedent for how people will treat you.

The gems we find in our favorite characters:

Ferris Bueller - Ferris has a strong sense of self. Throughout the film Ferris exhibits his confidence, appreciation for life, and willingness to take risks in order to have joy. Okay, so I’m not saying go play hooky but there is definite value in rest and play.

Jeannie Bueller – Jeannie was the beacon of hope for the socially oppressed, undermined, unlucky, non-worshipped people, unlike Ferris. In all seriousness, I loved watching Jeannie improve her attitude and expand her perspective on life. After all nothing is fair. How can we justify what you deserve? The answer is we can’t.

Cameron Fry – Cameron’s story is troubling. Rooted in an unstable environment his hypochondriac-like tendencies mask something more deeply rooted. Although Ferris eludes to Cameron simply needing to relax, the truth is we cannot make assumptions about people and what is the right way to maintain good mental health. You can’t just tell someone with an eating disorder to eat a cheese burger and get over it or a person with depression to get more sunlight and exercise. It doesn’t work like that. You don’t have to understand it; you just have to be there for them. To the Cameron’s out there maybe what you need is to face your fears. We all struggle now and then. It’s okay to ask for help or need medication; it’s okay. Never be afraid to consult a medical professional.

Mr. Ed Rooney - The Dean of Students in our lives may be a lot like Ed Rooney. They’re our critics. We’re not just talking about authority figures. We’re talking about oppressors. The type people who’d like nothing more than to put you in a little box and keep you there. Threatened by Ferris’s influence and admiration among the student body, Rooney goes to great lengths to save his own reputation. and position of power and of course destroy Ferris.Remember you are not meant to play small so others can stand tall.

Sloane Peterson – The beautiful heart-throb cheerleader….there’s plenty more to her than this alone. Sloane is her own person. She doesn’t attach herself identity to her beau or jump at the idea of getting married if it’s not life. Girls, please don’t emulate Sloane for her looks. Be interesting; it’s far more rewarding! And gents, friends, moms, and dads, tell your girls they are beautiful, capable and strong. In a man’s world, of scarcity culture, we all are taught to believe we are never enough; we need all the positive reinforcement we can get.

Then there’s Grace the quirky receptionist who pulls pencils out of her hair.She taught me sometimes you have to fake it to make. She sees the picture.Maybe she’s never impersonated Ed Rooney before but that won’t stop her from trying. She knows the facts and has them in her back pocket.

The nurse, well we don’t know much about her but, rule of thumb nurses are angels on earth and we should all be nice to them.

So there you have it. A colorful array of life’s lessons rolled into a fun-loving classic. SPOILER ALERT. Life is beautiful, stressful, and fastpaced. Stop and look at art, climb to the highest floor of the tallest building and look out is truly a gift. We’re meant to dance and YES, be a Cubs fan. “Life moves pretty fast if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.”

This article is not condoning reckless disregard for the law and does not substitute for consulting medical professionals and/or counseling.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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