There are some kid movies, shows and books that I am grateful for. They have taught us good lessons or given us the opportunity to discuss important topics like sharing, respect, responsibility, bullying, etc. One such movie is Pixar’s Finding Dory.
There are lots of great moments in this movie and I genuinely still laugh at parts after watching it close to a dozen times. For those that don’t know, Finding Dory is the sequel to Finding Nemo. In Finding Dory, Dory, a blue tang fish who suffers from short-term memory loss, begins to recall memories of her parents and goes on a wild adventure to find them. One of the key points of the movie is that if Dory is left alone she will begin to forget where she was going, what she was doing or what she was thinking about.
Toward the climax of the movie Dory must venture through the pipes of an aquarium on her own. The dialogue between Dory and a crab giving her directions is as follows:
Female Crab: Don’t worry, it’s easy to get to quarantine. You can just go through the pipes, honey.
Dory: Oh. Oh I can’t do that.
Female Crab: Why not?
Dory: I’ll forget where I’m going. And I can’t be somewhere where I have nobody to help me.
Bill: Well, then I guess you’re stuck here.
Female Crab: You’re not helping, Bill. Just go in there if you want to. You’ll be fine.
Dory: Oh boy. Could you tell me how to get there? Through the pipes?
Female Crab: Sure, honey. It’s two lefts and then a right. Simple.
What I want to highlight is the way the female crab speaks to Dory. Twice she mentions how “easy” and “simple” it is to get to quarantine through the pipes. And for her, I’m sure it would be. But not for Dory.
Dory even explains to the crab that she “can’t be somewhere where I have nobody to help me.” Yet still the crab insists that Dory can do it on her own.
This scene has opened my eyes to three different situations in my life where I need to be less like the crab.
First, in homeschooling. With now four kids, it is very tempting to set John or Rosie up with a math or handwriting page, say something to the effect of “it’s easy, I know you can do it. I’m going to go change Clare/Eliza, feed Clare/Eliza, move the laundry that’s been sitting since yesterday/pour some more coffee/etc. and I’ll be back to check on you.” Tempting yes. Effective and fruitful teaching method – definitely not. What they are learning might be simple to me now but at one time they were hard. Right now, even if the content is something they know, the ability to stay focused and work diligently is something they are only just beginning to learn. They need someone to walk with with, even if it does take all morning. There are times of course when they do have to go it alone. The needs of the little ones must be met. But does the laundry need to be moved during math problems? No.
Second, this scene has made me much more aware of judgmental thoughts directed at others. Again, what might be easy for me may not be for others. It is not fair to impose what I have been blessed with on others. No one appreciates it when we are thrown into a situation we aren’t confident in and are expected to perform at a level we are unable to. We do this in the workplace, in our neighborhood and in our homes. It’s not fair nor is is considerate of the diversity inherent to our species.
Third, I believe that personally and all of us collectively need to work on becoming better listeners. Look at how Dory explains why she will have difficulty following the crab’s directions. An obvious answer to Dory’s concerns would have been to offer to go with her. But neither crab offers. Instead the female crab insists that Dory will be fine even though we all know she won’t. Neither crab listened well.
Consider the daily interactions we have with people. We are almost programed to have the following exchanges with others:
“Hi, how are you?” “Good, how are you?”
or “Thanks, have a nice day.” “Thanks, you too!”
The other day I was going through the gate to get onto base. At every base, you must show identification to ensure you are able to enter. The typical exchange I have is:
“Hello Ma’am” [pass my ID] “Hello.” [pass my ID back] “Thanks, have a good day.” “Thanks, you too.”
Except this time, instead of wishing me a good day, the guard said something to the effect of “Thanks, you can head on through.” Instead of just saying “Thank you” I, who did not listen well and assumed what I would be told, awkwardly said “Thanks, you too.”
We need to listen, not assume.
I have had some great conversations with John and Rosie about this scene.
Thanks Finding Dory!