I am a tried-and-true ‘90s kid. I remember going to see Disney blockbusters in the movie theater with my sisters, the three of us belting out the tunes for days (weeks…OK, OK, years) afterward.
Even now, I’m not ashamed to say that without any kids of my own, I’ll sometimes flip on Beauty and the Beast or Toy Story just for fun. The nostalgia alone is entertaining.
And when you look at these Disney movies through the lens and experiences of military spouses, you see there’s some lessons they can teach us.
1. Value Yourself
Merida entered a shooting contest to win her own hand. She valued herself too much to leave her future up to chance and some (pretty Neolithic) guy.
If you’re sitting back and letting the military pull you along, it’s time to sit up and take charge. Your dreams are important too. How are you going to win your own hand?
2. Be Bold
Mulan didn’t give two Huns about what other people thought of her when she saved her father, her crush, the Chinese army, and then…oh, yeah, that’s right, ALL OF CHINA. It didn’t matter that she was unconventional — it was her skill and bravery that saved the day. (And, she got the guy in the end too.)
If you’re living in fear of what other people might say or think about you, if you’re worried of speaking up or speaking out because someone might call you a name, harness a little of Mulan’s moxie and speak and act boldly.
3. Brains Are Beautiful
Belle was always my favorite Disney princess because she was proud of her intelligence. She flaunted it, reading books in the middle of her town when everyone else thought she was ruining herself.
Often military spouses put off their own education or professional development. By the time their military life is done, they find their resumes woefully short or studded with gaping holes that leave them years (if not decades) behind in the workforce.
Value your brilliance and find ways to continue to educate yourself, especially if you can’t start your career just yet.
4. Create Your Future
Tiana knew exactly what she wanted: to be her own boss and open a N’awlins restaurant. She saved up, fought hard and even kissed a frog to make that dream come true.
After all, the military is your obstacle, not the Voodoo Man.
5. Be Curious
Just PCSed and are living in a new town (or maybe even new country)? It’s easy to keep to yourself and stay on base or in your off-base rental. Instead, take a page from Ariel’s book and explore.
Be curious. Enjoy the culture of the area you’re stationed and go “where the people are…walking around on those, what do you call ’em? Oh, feet.”
6. Don’t Eat the Apple
Snow White could have avoided a whole world of hurt had she practiced PERSEC and not have eaten a poisoned apple from someone who, quite frankly, was super sketchy and pushy.
In this day and age, we all should strive to avoid Snow White’s (almost) deadly mistake. Stay alert. Practice OPSEC and PERSEC both online and in-person. If you get a weird feeling about something report it or keep an eye open.
And for the love of Mickey Mouse, don’t eat things that strangers offer you. It’s kind of gross, really.
What Disney princess can you learn from? Let it go and let us know in the comments!