It’s so hard as a parent to draw our kids in to meaningful conversations, isn’t it?
Especially if the conversation is about something extremely important, but rather abstract in the minds of our kids, as the topic of building character?
Then again who says you have to sweat it out?
I’m a lazy parent – if there’s an easier way to do the job as well without me having to do all the heavy lugging, I’ll take that option any day, and twice on Sundays.
Which is why I love family movie nights.
The lights are dimmed in the house, and the sun is starting to set. The sound of “pop-pop-pop” is coming from the kitchen and the buttery smell of popcorn is wafting through the house. With the smells and familiar sounds, the children are running around, gathering their favorite pillows and blankets.
The oldest calls the longer couch. The younger one chooses her white fluffy blanket and the pink pillow, and decides to make a pallet on the floor.
Meanwhile, I am putting the DVD in, feeling grateful for the quiet moments that lie ahead. More than likely a scuffle or two about someone’s blanket touching someone else’s is happening in the background (hey, life isn’t perfect and they ARE siblings, after all).
As the last of the advertisements wind down, I spread the popcorn and drinks around the room, while the comforting and familiar sound of the “Feature Presentation” hits our ears.
At last, everyone is settled in.
But this is not the only reason I love movie nights.
Did you know that it’s been scientifically proven that movies have the ability to persuade and teach our children?
Really. It’s true. This article on the power of persuasion by Dr. Jeremy Dean discusses the psychological reasons behind why movies work so well to influence our thought process. One of the comments he makes is this “Stories work so well to persuade us because, if they’re well told, we get swept up in them, we are transported inside them.”
So since that is true, what if we secretly stacked the cards in our favor? What if we, as parents, were very strategic in the movies that we choose and then used that impressionable time right after the movie concluded to discuss and impress upon our child the favorable character traits we want them to glean from that show?
Let’s say we just finished watching the old movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The main character, Charley does the “right thing” even when all the other kids around him choose not to. In several poignant moments in the film, Charley makes important decisions that show his good character.
When the movie comes to a close, what if we took that extra moment with our child and nonchalantly asked them an open ended question such as “That was a cool movie, huh? Do you think it was hard for Charley to do the right thing when the kids around him were making bad choices?”
It’s amazing what kids will open up and say in this very vulnerable and open state. I am sharing this with you because I have personally found it to be so much more effective with my kids than just trying to talk about “doing the right thing”. At times when I’ve tried to discuss “doing the right thing” with my teenagers, all I ever received was the classic eye-roll.
Call me “sneaky” if you must. But hey, it works. And I’m all about doing things that work, especially if they are easy.
Therefore, let me equip you, my dear parent friend, with this list of 25 of the best family movies that I believe will help you in this venture. These movies will appeal to all age groups and engage the entire family, however for the purposes of this article, they are sorted by Rating.