The movie “Frozen” has taken over the early childhood classroom. The children LOVE that movie. They sing songs from it. They act it out. All of the children want to be Elsa. They spin around and pretend to freeze things. They sing “Let it Go” and know every word. They tell me about their Elsa toys.
I’m not quite sure if someone should tell them that they are, however, worshipping the wrong character. Elsa is not the heroine. While it is true that Elsa goes into isolation in order to save her sister from harm, she does not act otherwise heroic. She forbids her sister to marry. She panics and runs away. She has an emotional outburst that causes brutal winter weather for her subjects. It is Anna, her sister, who vows to find her in order to salvage their relationship and end the endless winter. In the end, Anna is willing to sacrifice herself to save Elsa’s life. That act of true love is the reason that Anna isn’t frozen forever and survives. Anna is the heroine. Anna is willing to die for what matters.
I do not hear any of my preschoolers pretending to be Anna. Why are they so focused on Elsa and what does that say about what they view as a role model? It is important to try to see the world through the eyes of our children in order to understand their viewpoint. Elsa gets the beautiful blue dress that they pretend to wear. Elsa has magical powers. Elsa has the beautiful song. Anna, on the other hand, is not quite as classically blond and beautiful as Elsa. She has no magic. Her clothes aren’t sparkling and flowing. She sings but THE song went to Elsa. Elsa captures them. Poor scrappy Anna is just the younger sister who doesn’t quite capture the fan base.
I have mentioned this case of the wrong heroine to other adults. They agree. Then they shrug. I wonder if they would shrug if their children were pretending to be the Evil Queen instead of Snow White or the Wicked Witch instead of Dorothy. Perhaps, for all of us, there is something to be said for the effect of the esthetics and the lack of words like “evil” and “wicked.” I wonder if parents are pointing out to their children that Elsa froze everything and Anna was willing to give so much to save everyone. It is an opportunity to teach about the values of doing for others and importance of siblings sticking together. Then, when the children do what is natural and pretend to wear the pretty, blue dress and use the magical power of freezing everything, we will know that they heard about the true heroics.
For more information, click on these titles: "Is the Tooth Fairy Real, Daddy?" and "The Two Separate Issue of Superhero Play and Weapon Play"
Read my articles in “The Shriver Report”: "Stress in the Family: Helping Our Children to Cope" ; "From Working Mom to Working Woman: The Opportunity of the Empty Nest""Family Finances: Tips To Teaching Your Kids About Money"
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