The other day I was watching my new favorite Disney movie, Moana, for the fourth or fifth time, when I realized this movie is full of positive development that kids and adults alike could benefit from watching and emulating. This inspirational movie brings me to happy and sad tears as I watch her struggles and triumphs. The next time you watch it, try to see it through new eyes. Here are a few of the life lessons I found hiding in there…those clever Disney writers!

    1. It’s ok to be different from everyone else – At the beginning of the movie, it’s obvious how Moana and her grandmother are outsiders. They are daydreaming while others are falling in line. They know that there’s more out there outside of the safety of the reef. Their creative minds seek adventure.
    2. We try to please our parents by playing it safe – Our parents just want the best for us. They want to keep us safe from harm. They convince us to stay within the safety of their comfort zone for fear that we’ll get lost or hurt. Moana knows this so she does her best to be a good daughter and not follow the tug from the ocean. She loves her father and doesn’t want to disobey him.
    3. Change or die – It soon becomes obvious that the island is not providing for its inhabitants as it always has with the coconuts and fishing inside the reef. They can no longer do the things they have always done to stay alive. They must literally find a new food source or they will have nothing to eat.
    4. Be happy right where you are – There is a whole song dedicated to being happy “right where you are” in this flick. Of course, Moana is not singing this song because she is longing for adventure elsewhere. However, I do think there is wisdom here that can’t be ignored. Even if you are adventurous and dreaming of a bigger life, you must be happy with your present life or you’ll forever be chasing happiness that will remain elusive.
    5. Follow your intuition – Despite all the warnings from her father, the chief, and the other islanders, Moana feels a calling to the sea. She can’t explain it but she knows that that ocean is calling her and beckoning her beyond. 
    6. You may have to go by yourself – Most people won’t dance to the beat of their own drum. They will do as they are told. They will do what everyone else is doing because they just think that’s the way it is. When Moana sets out the restore the heart of Ta Fiti there is no one else to go with her. It’s scary and lonely, but she knows she’s the person for the job. *The chicken, Hey Hey, ends up on board, but he’s not much help. 
    7. You will fail – When pursuing your dreams there will be times when you will fall flat on your face just like Moana does when in the middle of the ocean. And, that’s ok. Falling on your face means that you are trying to do something that you have never done. Embrace that failure and learn from it so that you can do it better the next time.
    8. Don’t take things that aren’t yours to take – Maui caused this whole big mess when he stole the Heart of Ta Fiti. Without her heart, Te Fiti turned into a mean ol’ witch. Maui took the heart because he thought he was doing a good thing serving the humans, only it wasn’t his to take. Darkness took over the whole area.
    9. Say who you are and mean it – When Moana is going through one of those fall-on-your-face moments on her outrigger in the middle of the ocean she starts chanting her mantra “I am Moana of Motunui, aboard my boat, I will sail across the sea and restore the Heart of Te Fiti.” She knows who she is and her goal. She states them proudly over and over until she believes in herself again. We can do the same thing. Say your destiny aloud as you have already accomplished it. Show yourself that you have full confidence that you can, and will, do it.

And, in conclusion, here’s my favorite song from Moana, for your listening pleasure:

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