Why Disney is Better than the Bible

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is one of the most visited theme parks in the world. Nearly 20.5 million people visited the attraction in 2017. And that’s not including all the off park resorts, hotels and other theme parks. Mickey Mouse is certainly popular. Not to mention all the memorabilia! Magic Kingdom sells over 300 000 pounds of popcorn and employs nearly 70 000 cast members. Approximately 285 thousand pounds of guest laundry is cleaned by Walt Disney world employees every single day. During the Christmas season, 8.5 million lights and 300 000 yards of ribbon decorate the park. And you think you had a hard time keeping up with the housework?!

However, I am curious to do some research on the underlying (and overwhelming) reasons why Disney products are so popular. What have they got that makes them… well… the most magical place on earth?

Legend has it that Disney created the theme park for his little girls. A place to feel like a princess. Filled with adventure, mystery and treasures. If you have ever been, you know it is a reality. We visited way back when our beloveds were a little younger … a trip the kids still talk about. From the check in desk, to the ice cream vendor, every “cast member” was trained to talk directly to our little “prince and princesses”, and to make everyone’s stay the most special visit ever. We even talked to the cashiers in the Canadian pavilion at Epcot… and they enlightened us that most of the employees were chosen from their home countries and had to undergo two years of training before joining the Epcot world teams.

And it’s not all about the kids. In 2013, about 1 500 weddings were held at Disney. That number has steadily grown, and last year, more than 4 000 ceremonies have been performed each day! I have heard of lots of newlyweds who have chosen the theme parks as a honeymoon destination. You can even choose to live there (if you happen to have a couple of million to put out on a house and are willing to abide by the rules). More and more travel companies are promoting adult only Disney visits. And we are eating it up!

So — I muse — WHY? Just think with me a minute. What would happen if our churches were like Disney? What if they were the most magical places on earth, and every child and adult had your church building on their bucket list for places to visit? What would that mean? The coolest rides? The best shows? The best marketing budget for toys and movie clips? Yeah, Disney has all of those things, and yes, many believers are discovering that Walt’s traditional themes are becoming subtly more “worldly”. I’m not saying we have to compromise our fundamentals to woo seekers with magic and pixie dust. The Bible is God’s living word and is perfect in all it’s details. But it doesn’t change the fact that people are seeking places to belong.

Places where they will be accepted. Maybe a place to feel safe. A place to feel special and loved — even if you have a funny voice, or a tiny fin, or ugly, mean stepsisters. To know that it really is “a small world after all”, and that all it takes is faith and trust. If we really and truly believe that we have the. best. answer. ever. to the problems we all face in this world, why are we not sharing it?! Why are my beloveds seeking adventure and drama in the latest superhero movie? Why do I wish for a fairy tale marriage? {no worries, honey, it’s pretty close…} Why is Disney our celebratory destination and not the streets of gold in Heaven? Is God not bigger and more powerful than Mickey Mouse?

As usual, I don’t have all the answers. I love Disney. The family is trying to convince me to see the new, live action Dumbo movie. I’m gonna cry. Poor Dumbo is snatched away from his momma all too soon. But I’ve got to wonder, am I moved the same way when I read of the atrocities that human babies face in our own world? Does it grieve me the way that it grieves our Heavenly Father? The Bible is filled with adventure, romance, humor, and boundless love. Love that can cross barriers, and the test of time. Are we training our “cast members” to treat every person who walks through our doors, that, they too, can experience the most magical place on earth through the person of Jesus… and that an even greater adventure awaits them after? To infinity and beyond?!

Photo credit: Roberto Gemini Pixabay

I want my daughters to feel like princesses. I want my boys to seek adventure and fight for justice. I want to whistle while I work as my house gets cleaned by a variety of adorable woodland creatures. But I know that, sometimes, fairy tales don’t always have a happy ending. So I entrust my friends and family to be sons and daughters of the king of kings. To put on the whole armour of God, and enlist in the adventure of a lifetime. Because with God’s help, Walt Disney himself, might agree… “if you can dream it, you can do it.”

Choices

A guest post! This time from our very own Mitton crew! The middle son had to do a speech for school and this poured out of the junior higher’s brain. I think it is quite profound, so thought I would share it…

We make decisions everyday; some big, some small, but decisions are always there and they always have an effect on the future. Choosing between Mcdonald’s or Tim Horton’s may seem like just an everyday task, but your decisions can change the course of your life, other people’s lives, and ultimately the world itself.

Your decisions affect you whether you realize it or not. Some decisions you make directly affect you, like getting married, accepting a job, or choosing to retire. These are called direct decisions. Direct decisions are choices that are made intentionally to change one’s present self. Some decisions however, affect you indirectly, meaning they were not intended to affect you but in the end you were affected. These types of decisions are often the ones that lead to you being affected in a negative way. For example, let’s say you decide to commit a murder. You, yourself will not be affected by the death of the individual you murdered. You will however, be affected by the punishment you receive for committing the crime. So you inadvertently negatively affected your life through a chain of events. Or, in simpler words, you made an indirect decision that had a negative outcome.

Photo credit Nathan Lemon

Not only do your choices affect you, they affect everyone around you. Choosing to promote someone, or stealing someone’s wallet, are obvious ways your decisions affect people, but did you know that the things you do alone in your house also affect other people on the other side of the city? For example, let’s say you’re at home and no one else is there, and you decide you’re not going to do the chore your parents told you to do. They’re not there so why does it matter, right? Your parents won’t be home till late that night and you probably won’t see them till the next morning. So you go to bed. Next morning comes and you’re getting ready for school when your mom walks in and starts yelling at you for not doing whatever it was you were supposed to do. You get all mad about it and now you’re almost late for school. You run to school and someone is standing right in the way of your locker. By now your fed up with everything that’s happened in your day so you yell at the kid for standing in your way, ultimately hurting his feelings and making the rest of his day miserable. Now, in this small story you can see just how much your decisions can affect people. The seemingly harmless choices made affected three different people: the mom, the dad and the other student.

Your decisions are powerful. So powerful, in fact, that they can even change the world itself.

Changing the world may seem like something only a few people have done — but the truth is, every single choice that any person on the face of the earth makes, changes the world in some way. We many not be able to see how the world has changed, and the world may not change until we are long gone, but I can promise you that the world will change. It may seem unrealistic to think that {something as small as} you sharpening your pencil will change the world — but all you have to do is look back at history to see how small decisions formed the way our world works today. Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States. He could have died if he had not decided to put his speech in his pocket. In 1912, Roosevelt decided to put his 50 page speech, that he was preparing to present, in his chest pocket. Later that day, the folded speech saved his life from an assassin’s bullet.

D-day was the most costly, but important, victory for the allies in the Second World War. The allies may never have won however if Erwin Rommel (who was one of the best field marshals in the world) didn’t decide to surprise his wife with a vacation a few days before  D-day. Both of these choices may seem like improbable coincidences that will probably never happen again, but given the amount of choices we all make every day, I say something like this is bound to happen again.

So why does this matter, what do any of the things I just said to you in the last five minutes mean to you right now? It means you should make the right choice. Every choice you make — wherever you are — make the right choice, because your choice can change the world, it can change the people around you, but most importantly your choice can change you!! For better or for worse. It’s your choice.    

             SO? What do you say, my friends? Are you making the right choices? Be encouraged that God is there to help you make those choices. His plan is perfect… and it’s true, we have no idea how our choices may change the world! See you next week!

Brag Tags

a fun and easy gift for an encouraging Valentine’s Day!

I was preparing to work in a kindergarten class not too long ago when I discovered a fabulous tool for positive reinforcement and encouragement! I was all set up and meandering around the room, waiting for the students to arrive. This moment is like the calm before the storm for educators. All is serene and peaceful and you think you can handle anything the day will bring. Then the bell rings and they descend upon you in a pile of puffy snowsuits and rosy cheeks, all demanding you help find their lost, frozen mitten that they just flung across the coat room two seconds previous. Nothing like thirty, five-year-olds to make you sleep real well at night! But I digress… back in the classroom, I noticed a large display of “brag tags” hanging from a bulletin board brightly displayed under the same name. They hung on small chains… one for each member of the class. Upon closer examination, I discovered each one contained a few tags for various accomplishments: “I can tie my shoes”, “I can print my name”, “I was a good listener”, etc.

What a brilliant idea, I thought! Such a creative teacher! Such incentive for positive behaviours, self learning and motivation! Upon further research, I discovered that it is not a new concept among teachers… there are a great many teacher/schooling sites that have all kinds of “brag tag” ideas and places to buy your own or edit and print. This teacher was not alone in her ideas! There is a whole classroom incentive entity out there about these fab tabs or spirit sticks (as they are sometimes called)! There was even one teacher who decided teachers themselves should have their own brag tags! A little tongue in cheek, I suppose, but fun! A human resource project for your next motivational meeting perhaps? 🙂 If you are an educator and have come looking for more brag tag ideas, please check out my Pinterest boards for lots of fabulous resources posted there!

Now… even though I work with children and have my own beloveds at home, I will be the first to admit I am not very encouraging. I try. I really do. But more often than not, my task oriented, in the box, do it this way brain takes over, and I am more apt to focus on what you should do instead of what you are doing great already!! It is so much easier to correct then to encourage, isn’t it? The Bible is full of verses about encouragement.  Jesus had a time and place for correction, no doubts about it, but usually, He teaches us to be gently encouraging — even in our corrections.

Our family brag tags!

Which brings me to my Valentine’s Day project. My kids are older now… far beyond their kindergarten years… but no matter what the age, we are are always in need of some encouragement, aren’t we?! So I made each of my family members some brag tags… even the hubby! I gave them 5 different ones each, and included some things I love about each of them. Things I want them to know that I have noticed they are doing, and doing wonderfully! Things they have accomplished or are working diligently on. Some of the tags were ready made ones in my gift wrapping collection. Others I punched or cut out and wrote on. Each were ringed on some old shower rings we had hanging around. Simple, but meaningful. I don’t expect them to wear them around their necks the way a five year old might. It’s a small token. But one I hope they treasure. I’m not a good encourager with my spoken word. I have a hard time saying those things I should. This is one way I can make my thoughts tangible to the people I love. Maybe you are not a good verbal encourager either… so, go ahead, steal my idea… I encourage you to ! Make your own “brag tags” for your crew… and let me know how they turn out!!