“Meet the Robinsons”

This Disney movie flies under the radar, but it should be a must-see for families. In addition to a fun story, lively characters and instantly quotable lines, the movie contains a particularly potent message.

Lewis, an orphan who lives in the city, is a young aspiring inventor with big hopes and dreams, but his inventions keep failing. Through a crazy set of circumstances (just watch the movie, trust us!) he winds up in the future, where he learns that he grows up to be a famous inventor with a big, whacky family who created countless inventions that make the world a better place.

Eventually, adult Lewis shows young Lewis his inventing office and explains that this future is up to him. “Nothing is set in stone. You’ve got to make the right choices and keep moving forward.”

This film is a good opportunity to talk to your kids about how freedom allows anyone who is willing to work hard and solve problems to become successful, and that failure is often just a step on the path to success. Success won’t be handed to you, and it isn’t guaranteed, but that doesn’t mean to stop working at it “Keep moving forward!” is the Robinson family motto, and it’s a good motto for kids too.

“Ratatouille”

A rat in the kitchen would get most restaurants shut down. But what if the rat was a gourmet chef with a passion for food and a talent for fine French cooking?

Remy, the rat at the center of Ratatouille, dreams of becoming a cook, despite what the other rats in his family think. His hero is Auguste Gusteau, a famous chef with the motto “Anyone can cook!”

It isn’t until the end of the movie that viewers get the true meaning of this motto, tucked into a review of Remy’s cooking written by a particularly cranky food critic.

“In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”

This concept—that great talent can come from the most surprising places—is at the bedrock of the American Dream. This is a great opportunity to talk to your kids about how burdensome regulations and unnecessary barriers to entry can keep the next great chef, inventor, musician or even hairdresser from following their dreams and making the world a better place.

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