Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Frozen Take On Marriage

Emerson belts out another line of the Frozen soundtrack from the back seat of my van.  I grin, cringe, and roll my eyes heavenward--all at the same time.   He's uncomfortably off-key, but the unabashed passion in his voice is beautiful, a rarity generally reserved for those children still yet to grow self conscious (or for adults who believe themselves to be without an audience).

Over both Emerson and the original artists come the sounds of both Amelia's voice-over commentary and the clinking of a racecar plowing through golden pixels in Wyatt's Angry Birds Go! game.  It's going to be a noisy ride from farm to ESL class in the city.

My children have only seen the film Frozen once, but the music from last fall's blockbuster instantly took root in our household.  In the weeks following our family date to the movies, I would unexpectedly find myself the center of others' grinning amusement as my daughter Amelia would choose the ketchup aisle to burst forth with the refrain to Idina Menzel's "Let it Go!", complete with her little hands swirling upwards with imaginary snowflakes.

Needless to say, I broke down and bought the CD.  Ten dollars bought me both sanity and insanity, sanity in that my children could now learn the proper lyrics versus whatever crazy words they thought they had heard the first go-around.  And insanity because no matter how long our road trip, I can't even pop the gear shift into reverse before someone is asking for Frozen.

It's been three months.  They still aren't tired of it.  To them, this is what you do in a car--you sing.  Loudly. Like mommy.  Until you have every word memorized.  Somehow, neither Emerson nor my two other children have realized mommy only sings like a rockstar when the three of them are around or when she is alone. Even their daddy's presence makes my throat tighten to softer tones.

And when you're not singing? You're talking about the songs.  That's where my daughter comes in with her running commentary, kinda like a catechism where each lyric has an appropriate rote response she's created in her own head after first peppering me for the answers.  

"Why wouldn't Elsa build a snowman with Anna?  Why did Elsa create the snow monster to attack her sister?"

"Because she was scared.  And sometimes when people are scared, they make bad decisions."  (Good answer, mom.)

"Well, why did Anna go up the mountain?"

"Because she loved her sister.  She was a good sister because family never gives up on each other.  They always love each other no matter what."  (Yep... I'd hear those phrases repeated in the commentary for sure.)

Then came the more involved "Why didn't Elsa want Anna to get married?"

If you've been living in a cave (i.e., you don't have girls to drag you to another princess movie), Anna is desperate to meet "the one" and thinks she has only one day to do it. Orphaned--and with a sister who has locked herself away in a misguided attempt to protect everyone--Anna is so lonely for human companionship that she "falls in love" with the first guy she meets, Hans, and gets engaged to him....all in the time it takes the two of them to sing one song.

The problem was my discussing the psychology of Anna's decision wasn't going to fly with a five year old.  Anna and Hans actually had a lot in common, and the relationship honestly might have worked...if he became greedy.   

Blessedly, words came to my tongue so that months later, every time the "Love is an Open Door" song finishes, Amelia shakes her head, clucks her tongue like an old mother hen, and instructs everyone within the sound of her voice: "She didn't ask God if she should marry him.  Anna should have asked God first."

It's not that I planned on having a discussion on marriage and dating with my five year old.  I mean, gee, she's FIVE.  But in a world where "marriage" and "family" are constantly being deconstructed and redefined, I'm actually thankful for movies like this that give me the chance to provide a Biblical worldview within the normal conversations of our daily life instead of me having to create the scenario and preach.

All too soon, my three will be teenagers in the throws of their first love and all the brainless stupidity that follows.  I can only hope by then, enough of these conversations will have taken root in my children's hearts and minds to make a difference.

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