It’s a challenge to find a movie our whole family can enjoy and one that my wife and I can feel relaxed enough to set down the remote without being ready to press mute or stop to protect our children’s dignity and innocence.
One family movie we found and is liked by the sprawling age range of our brood is Soul Surfer, which is about the life and perseverance of professional surfer Bethany Hamilton. I should warn you that there may be an unintentional spoiler below. However, I’ll try not to give more information than you’d glean from the movie’s trailer.
Bethany’s story is an excellent testament to getting back up on the horse after you fall off or, in her case, getting back on the surfboard after a monster wave has wiped you out. We all face waves in our lives, and the ocean metaphor can easily apply to everyone’s life. We have ebbs and flows. Sometimes the current in our life seems to push us in the right direction, and sometimes it looks like we’re fighting so hard to stay afloat we don’t know how long we can keep up our stamina. The point is, don’t let challenges and disappointments keep you down. They are inevitable. Keep moving. And when you might need a hand, there’s always one available.
It’s certainly tempting to turn away from obstacles or give up entirely. Still, Bethany’s story reminds us we don’t have to wave the white flag just because we face overwhelming opposition. The best moments of our lives are often waiting right around the corner after a time of intense difficulty. Keep on keeping on.
Bethany faced more than being knocked off her surfboard. She endured a lifelong disability, a traumatic accident and recovered after being put on a different life journey than she ever anticipated. I appreciated the lesson of how important it is to cling to your faith. There are times that our faith is all we have. Married couples can attest to this. When my wife and I lost our baby girl, Rita, we were both simultaneously knocked down and battered by the brutality of life’s circumstances and the devastating effects of grief. While we certainly wanted to be there for each other, it was our faith that got us through and not necessarily each other. We were both off our feet and just doing the best we could to maintain. Neither of us could be there emotionally for the other. Our faith is what got us through while we emotionally and mentally healed. Without that faith, many marriages crumble and dissolve after traumatic experiences.
Initially, Bethany loses surfing. In those moments, Bethany’s identity is surfing. Her relationships are structured around her being a surfer, even her very close relationship with her father. I think we all can relate in some way. When we consider who we are, we often think about what we do. But Bethany’s story shows us that we’re so much more than that. She was forced to find her value and worth outside of surfing and to redefine her relationships. It is a great conversation topic with your teens about self-worth and seeing the intrinsic value of others.
Do you have any family-friendly movies you’d recommend? They seem hard to come by, but Soul Surfer is a great one with valuable lessons.