I have always believed that movies (and storytelling in general) can be a powerful force for good by teaching correct principles in an engaging manner. I recently came across a fun list on UnSpun by Amazon called Best Positive/Uplifting Movies Ever. The community there has ranked their favorite uplifting movies. The top five are:
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- Forest Gump
- The Pursuit of Happyness
Seeing this list made me want to create my own personal list of movies and books that teach principles that my family could benefit from. Children and youth, in particular, often seem to learn things best by watching a film or hearing a story.
As a family, we sometimes watch a movie or TV show together and then have a discussion afterward about what we learned from the story. We will point out gospel principles that are embedded in the story–such as honesty, loyalty, courage, etc. Unfortunately, this drives our teenage son crazy. He will say things like, “Can’t we just watch a movie without ‘likening it to the scriptures?'” Despite his protests, I believe he appreciates these family discussions more than he lets on because I have caught him sharing the same insights we have talked about with others.
Sometimes, movies can have a powerful therapeutic effect on children. One of my favorite movies is Bridge to Teribithia. Although marketed (almost deceptively) as a fantasy movie, this is actually a powerful story about the death of a loved one and dealing with the guilt that comes with such a tragic event. My children lost their mother in 2005 and this movie provided an excellent opportunity to get them to open up and talk about their own feelings of loss and guilt.
What movies would you place on your list of the Best Positive/Uplifting Movies Ever or use to teach gospel principles to your children?