Peter Pan was one of the most influential parts of my childhood that I can remember. I remember loving the stories that were told about him and I loved hearing about how he lived in such a way that he would never have to spend his life worrying about growing up. There is just something so comforting about knowing that there is a land out there, no matter how far away, where you can fight pirates, hang out with mermaids and dance and sing with Native Americans.
Peter Pan had the life that I wanted to live. One without worry, without stress and without anything tying me down. I was so nervous that as I grew up, I would have to change who I was to make the people around me happy. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to live my life the way I wanted. And most importantly, I was afraid that I would be forced to grow up when I wasn't ready to. Unfortunately, as all young kids do, they do in fact grow up.
"Peter Pan" is a great story for kids though. It's a great way for kids to see what it's like to live in a world that is all about playing and having fun but you can also see the responsibilities that people are forced to live with. In the Disney adaptation, young kids can see how much fun it is to live a fun and exciting life with a great guy, a sassy pixie and a bunch of loyal Lost Boys. However, they can also see what it's like to miss being home and have responsibilities that they have to work with. Wendy was having a great time going on adventures and hanging out with all of the different types of people in Neverland until it was time for her to take responsibility and take her brothers home. And that is such a pivotal part of growing up. Realizing that you have to take responsibility for other people and the way that you live your life is a scary but important realization while growing up into adulthood.
I think what really got to me with Peter Pan was how important it was for him to stay in the same way that he always was. He never wanted to change what he was doing because he was so comfortable with it and, for him, growing up wasn't an option. The other Lost Boys had the same ideals as him until they realized that they might be able to have a mother and be able to live a life with growing up. Growing up is a really scary thing but sometimes it is OK. Growing up allows you to get better opportunities for things that you love doing. You would be able to go out and make a name for yourself and you would be able to get great jobs, make money to buy things that you love and you would be able to live your life right. You might have to grow up sometime, but it doesn't mean that you have to grow up in your heart! Stay young at heart! Play games all night, watch TV and eat popcorn with friends, buy bulk candy and stay up late at night. Growing up doesn't mean you have to change who you are. It just gives you the opportunity to live that life that you want. Shape it in the way that you want and you will always be happy. Never truly grow up. Stay young at heart and remember: if you ever need to get away, Neverland is only a quick fly away to the second star on the right and straight on 'til morning.