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Lessons From A Disney Princess: A #LessonLearned by Ellie Ann Soderstrom

Ellie Ann Soderstrom is positively magical. Besides being madly in love with her husband and three children, she writes fairy tales, tall tales, and is interested in transmedia storytelling. Her content is consistently fabulous. I recommend subscribing to her blog, Ellie Ann Navigates the Week. Follow her on Twitter at @elliesoderstrom and LIKE her Facebook page: Ellie Soderstrom.

Thanks for being here today, EA. {You know I adore your Tall Tale Tuesdays.}

Click on the teacher lady’s bottom to read other posts in this series.

I’m thrilled to be here to talk about MY FAVORITE PRINCESS EVER: POCAHONTAS. Because I’ve learned everything there is to know about life about her. (Slight exaggeration. She didn’t teach me not to wash new red sweaters with new white sweaters). I’ve watched her movie countless times, rapt with awe at her grace and oneness with nature. She’s my favorite Disney princess by far, Jasmine ain’t got nothin’ on her. No one can do a swan dive like she can except Captain Jack Sparrow, and even that is up for debate.

But I’m not here to talk about swan dives  — although they were helpful for my pirating career. I’m here to talk about the most important song of Pocahontas’ career: Colors of the Wind.

First of all, the unspoken lesson to be learned from this song is if you see the colors of the wind, or especially if they’re thick enough to paint with, you should probably run.

This is, I assume, why Pocahontas runs so much in the music video.

photo by Lydia White

Second of all, she says:

“You think I’m an ignorant savage. And you’ve been so many places, I guess it might be so.”

Let me tell ya, these words have saved me a laundry load of vanity and sorrow. I’m an ignoramus. Every time I think I know something about the solar system, Galileo goes and tells me the earth revolves around the sun! That’s my allegorical way of saying that I can spout all the important words that I want to with conviction, but if they aren’t said in humility then it’ll all be in vain the day someone comes along and tears down my pretty little soapbox I’ve been standing on.

So now, thanks to Pocahontas’ viewpoint, I accept that others might think I’m ignorant. I’ll cling to the few beliefs I hold fast to about God and Man and the Universe, but the rest . . . I’ll try to speak humbly with a big dose of humor because just when you teach that dinosaurs are extinct JURASSIC PARK II happens and you have a Tyrannosaurus Rex in New York.

Pocahontas speaks of walking two moons. “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins,” as the old Irish saying goes. (At least, I think it’s Irish). As John Smith raises his gun to shoot a grizzly, Pocahontas stops him and sings:

“You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you. But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger; you’ll learn things you never knew you never knewwwww!”

And then they get to cuddle a bear cub.

So the lesson is: don’t shoot grizzlies! Be kind to grizzlies, even if they are hairy and smelly and smell weird, even if they want to eat all your honey, and even if they growl when you approach. As long as you are kind and cuddle with their children they will love you! That is my metaphorical example of being kind to people even if they’re ugly or weird or look scary. (Seriously though, you can’t take that advice literally! Do you know what would happen if you tried to cuddle a cub? Mama Bear Death Claw Attack!)

Charging Bears

But walking, feeling, living someone else’s life is a noble way to live.

Sometimes when I’m peeved at a woman who cuts in line, or a friend says something rude, or a family member cancels unexpectedly, or a car takes forever to turn left, I’ll try to think about what they might be going through. Sometimes it helps me calm down. Sometimes it just helps me come up with stories. But it always ensures I don’t take out a rifle like John Smith did.

That’s the way I want to live. By trying to walk, feel, and live in other people’s shoes. (Not literally, I am no shoe thief). Also, to walk with humility and grace . . . not willing to fight and hurt people for what I “think” is right. It’s not a lesson I’ve learned. It’s a lesson I’m learning. And maybe by the time I’m eighty I’ll have the lesson learned. And then perhaps my swan dive will be as perfect as Pocahontas’.

Have you learned any life lessons from a favorite Disney princess?

Tweet this Twit @rasjacobson & @elliesoderstrom

54 thoughts on “Lessons From A Disney Princess: A #LessonLearned by Ellie Ann Soderstrom

    1. You just need to sing with all the voices of the mountains, Renee, which probably sounds something like mosquitos and fire smoke and rain. 😉 I love it here on your site! It’s super comfy. I’m taking over that papasan chair in the corner. It’s my spot.

  1. Hello girlfriends!
    I love Belle from Beauty in the Beast. Anyone who can love an ugly mug like Beast’s is a friend of mine! She really rocked the house, literally, which is tops in my book! (lots of puns there…)

    1. She is a super cool princess. She’s probably the only princess who doesn’t care about appearances. Because lets face it, Pocahontas only liked John Smith for his looks.

  2. Great post! I love it when favorite bloggers of mine pair up. 🙂

    Cinderella illustrated some important lessons I’ve learned—the ones I shared in a post a while back. Otherwise, I’m not much of a Disney watcher. I love the dancing food scene in Beauty and the Beast, though. My kitchen often looks similar, but with far less grace. And more crumbs.

  3. My favorite female Disney character is Mulan. She kicks ass! Okay, technically, she’s not a princess. But that’s a good thing! She teaches all the little girls that you don’t need to conform to society’s ideas of what a girl should do and be. You can be strong. You can be smart. You can be your own person. You can speak your mind. You don’t need a man to be somebody. And you can save all of China!

    1. Mulan’s the man! Well…sort of. LoL.
      I think Mulan is the funniest of all Disney movies. “She’s all grown up and savin’ China.”

  4. Fab post, Ellie Ann! I’d run from colored wind, too, or at least check the granola bar I was eating. Sheesh. Important life tips. 🙂

    Hi, Renee! *waves* Hang in there, just a little while longer! 😀

  5. Love having 2 of my faves together!

    I don’t watch much Disney. Couldn’t stand Tangled (Shh. Don’t tell Clay). All that singing.

    But I did show part of Shrek to my 9th graders yesterday. We’re doing the Hero’s Journey. And I love Don Key. I think I’m a lot like Don Key. My DH is a lot like Shrek…

    1. There IS a lot of singing in Disney movies.
      You’re like Don Key? Can you make that popping sound with your mouth he makes? That was awesome.

  6. Yes. I learned to avoid Disney movies and to appreciate my wife because she doesn’t say weird stuff and she never expects my sons or i to think like a female.

  7. i can never separate that song from the joke whoopi goldberg made during the academy awards when it was nominated and subsequently one an oscar. she said, “come over my house on taco night, and i’ll show you the colors of the wind.”

    1. Ahahahaha! That’s what I thought of as I wrote this article. I really had to use all my self-control to refrain from fart jokes.

  8. Brilliant! It is my contention that confidence is overrated. Resignation to our own ignorance is what allows us to learn what we need to know to succeed. Resignation to our ignorance allows us to be content in our imperfect state, and only then can we embrace the journey. Great post, Ellie.

    1. I’m constantly reminded of my imperfect state, LoL. =) Thanks for the lovely comment, Piper.

  9. Great post, Ellie — lots of good life lessons are there for the taking, even in unlikely places like Disney movies! You’re so right–it’s a lesson we keep learning and reviewing. If only we did more moccasin-walking, life would be more beautiful…thank you for your wisdom.

    1. “Life would be more beautiful.” I like how you said that. So true. When we look outside ourselves the world becomes bigger, bolder, and more beautiful. Thanks so much for reading!

  10. Yes….but taking forever to turn left really IS unforgivable. Like writing checks at the grocery store. Or not pulling up at the pump.

    Sorry, Pocahontas. I’m looking for my moccasins RIGHT now…
    Or my colors-of-the-wind glasses. Either one.

    (Great post, Ellie. And that’s not even a metaphor.)

    1. What are checks?
      Not pulling up at the pump is definitely when I get out my nerf bow-and-arrow I always keep in the car for such occasions.

      1. LoL. Did you sing, “But still I cannot see, that the savage one is me…how can there be so much that you don’t know…you don’t knowwwww–” LoL.

  11. You know, Dave Mehrens always said when someone cuts him off in traffic, he takes a second to pray, “Lord, whatever that person’s going through to make them oblivious to other human beings, please heal them and care for them so that they can care for others.”

    Always thought that was really really cool.

    1. Hi Lance: I like that, too. And I kind of do that – though not as eloquently stated by Dave Mehrens. I try to imagine the “worst case scenario” where the person absolutely HAD to get to the light before me — thus cutting me off. Maybe his wife was in labor and they were hurrying to the hospital or maybe her child had a high fever and she was rushing to the pediatrician. That kind of thing. Then I find forgiveness is easier.

      1. Truth. I think it’s the same kind of thing only extrapolated out further. “What if their father abused them? What if they’re running from who they really are? What if they really really really gotta pee?”

        That sort of thing.

  12. Cute post! I wish I was better at seeing things through other drivers’ eyes; I admit that I can do it at most other times but the open road is my downfall. As a former substitute teacher I love the style of this blog!

  13. That is a good lesson! When you work in retail, as I do, you really have to keep this in mind. We say all the time, “You never know what someone else is going through.” For whatever reason, people seem to take out their anger, hurt and frustration out on service people. I try to give them my best, even if they are being mean to me.

  14. Ha! This was great, Ellie! I actually really do love that song, and couldn’t agree more that trying to think of what someone’s going through (especially when they’re being especially grizzly) can help. I also love your humble/humor approach!

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