I watched Zootopia last evening with a good friend’s daughter and found some awesome lessons and parallels to situations I’ve encountered in my life and business. Judy Hopps is a bunny who had big dreams when she was young. Her determination, drive and belief in herself were bold! There was a fire and passion in young Judy that was beautiful to see. She was going to be unstoppable and she knew it when she was young.
I think back to the thousands of kids I’ve been blessed to work with as a youth outreach worker, residential treatment worker, teacher, tutor and life coach. Have I worked with some Judy Hopps ~ absolutely! I’ve observed and listened to kids who have that spirit of being UNSTOPPABLE! Driven! Relentless! Some of these kids are bold. Others have a more quiet confidence. The common thread though in my opinion is their “inner knowing”. They seem to have an understanding of their gifts and talents! Just like Judy Hopps did.
As Judy’s story unfolds, her parents’ love for her is surrounded by fear. She is a tiny bunny with huge dreams. Her parents, having been in the world longer and experienced way more than their young, strong-willed daughter, want her safe. They try to support her the best way they know how. They help her see opportunities where they live as a carrot farmer. They try to be more realistic. They sense her dreams are far beyond what is possible for a tiny bunny from a small town. They don’t want Judy to fail. Fall short. Struggle. Get hurt. Or worse.
Have I met parents like this? Absolutely! Well intentioned. 100% loving. Supportive. Many willing to push their children to be their best. Others who are willing to keep their child’s dreams alive, share life lessons and learning, give all of the opportunities their child wants and often ones they missed out on as a child.
Judy grows up and heads off to live her dreams in Zootopia! She still has all of those desires, passion and determination from her childhood. Her parents, although scared, support her and send her off with the “tools” they feel will keep their daughter safe. What happens to Judy is what happens to all of us to some degree. Experiences, traumas and limited thinking from her childhood stay with her into adulthood. Gideon Gray tells her when she is young she’ll never be anything other than a “dumb bunny”. So her career starts off supporting this deep-rooted belief, despite her strong will and passion! She gets a “less than” task on her force. She fails. She feels defeated. This is where a life coach fits in to the story! Judy’s life coach happens to come in the form of Nick Wilde.
I’ve talked to many parents concerned about their children and wanting to get them help so life doesn’t have to feel so difficult. It could be struggles with academics, peers, confidence, self esteem, anxiety, not fitting in, anger, sadness or making poor choices. Parents want so much more for their children!
I am lucky enough to work with some of these parents and kids. I teach valuable tools so kids have options to choose from when things get tough. I help kids understand messages they tell themselves and those they receive from the world around them: from parents, teachers, peers, social media, music, video games and in movies. I teach kids to recognize and celebrate their strengths, but more importantly help them navigate perceived weaknesses or obstacles.
Judy’s parents don’t seek help from anyone to help Judy understand the effect Gideon Grey has on her. Many parents choose this path too and try to help the best they can. They choose to “wait and see” how things unfold for their child. Just as Judy Hopps does in Zootopia, many kids will eventually reach their goals and make their dreams come true.
Not all kids are lucky enough to meet someone like Nick Wilde though! What motivates me and creates immense happiness and joy for me is knowing I get the opportunity to help kids like Judy Hopps BEFORE they become adults and BEFORE they make irreversible mistakes, so they can approach all life throws at them with confidence, understanding and a genuine belief in their strengths and abilities. I get to provide the safe place for kids to learn lessons and grow confidence in who they are. Kids tend to not listen to their parents (I know this is a hard reality), regardless of how loving they are. So how lucky am I to be able to help guide kids and teach them a new way to approach their lives??
I am appreciative of movies like Zootopia! In watching characters like Judy, it reinforces the value I provide the kids I work with. If you have a child and would like to invest in giving him or her new tools to face the challenging world we live in, contact me! I’d love to get to know your story and help “your Judy Hopps” navigate life with more ease, happiness and joy!!!