I don’t know what it was, but, perhaps, it was when I sat down in front of one of my daughter’s Disney movies and saw a preview for a “DVD release only” movie about Tinker Bell’s adventures that I thought – “I’m OK with my daughter liking Disney.” Fundamentalists, I know Disney isn’t the most moral of producers. Liberals, I know Disney’s princesses at times have reinforced the traditional gender roles. But you know what? – I’m OK with my daughter watching Disney movies and television shows for a number of reasons, but, most importantly, the importance of imagination is emphasized in Disney products.
My daughter is a fan of a few things Disney. Her favorite TV shows are Handy Manny, My Friends Tigger & Pooh, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Little Einsteins. This Halloween she will be dressing up as Snow White. Finally, she is starting to become more interested in the Disney princesses.
We all grow up and are told that there are no such things as fairies, princesses, dragons, mice that talk, carpets that fly, or tigers that can bounce on their tails. No, I don’t believe in fairies (and, according to Peter Pan, that could kill one), but I would rather have a child who believes in fairies, princes, dragons, and toys that talk than the opposite. I’d rather have a daughter who dresses up like Snow White and pretends to be her, wishes for a prince to come, and imagines spending time with dwarfs than the opposite.
Children teach us so much about imagination. They teach us to believe in the impossible, to ask questions, and to run after the intangible. They love the little things in life, enjoy feeding ducks, or snuggling with their mothers. They love to jump into your lap and read a story. All of this because they have imaginations.
Where have our imaginations gone?
Do we not believe in fairies who bring joy behind the scenes? Do we not believe that God can do the impossible? Do I not believe that God can reach into my life and deliver me from evil? Do I not believe that there are dragons in this world who seek to destroy good and justice? Do we not believe in a prince who will rise from his rags and bring us into peace?
I’d rather my daughter believe in those things that Disney creates, and I’d rather her participate with Mickey Mouse and sit and read the adventures of Donald Duck; because when it comes down to believing and imagining in the intangible or dismissing all mystery, I’d rather my daughter watch Disney movies.