It’s summertime! I know in Dallas with 100+ temperatures we will be spending a lot of time indoors. Staying up later than usual AND watching a lot of movies. To take away some of that ever-present mommy guilt when the TV turns on…here is a discussion guide for the all-time-favorite boy movie: “Cars.”
Before you watch the movie you may want to define “pride” for your kids.
I define “pride” as: “making yourself the most important thing. Thinking only about yourself. Not thinking about others or God. Being self-centered.”
You could go further by contrasting pride with humility.
“Humility is directing attention to God. Putting others first.”
Humility comes “Lightning fast”:
The first half of the movie “Cars” Lightning McQueen’s pride (self-centeredness) gets him into several humbling situations. He keeps only his needs in mind and suffers the consequences. For instance:
1) McQueen did not listen to others
As soon as Lightning McQueen is introduced in “Cars” we become aware of how self-centered he is. It’s the last race of the season. McQueen is about to be the first rookie to win the Piston Cup. Something to be proud of, right?
One problem…he didn’t listen to his pit crew. They kept telling him to get new tires but he refused. He learned the hard way that they were correct when he blew out his rear tires right before hitting the finish line.
Because of his pride, he did not win the race. Instead the race ended in a 3-way tie.
2) McQueen did not consider others’ needs
Due to the 3-way-tie, it was decided there would be a tie-breaker race in California a week later. Immediately McQueen hopped in his trailer, Mack, and drove off.
McQueen was determined to be there first. When a weary Mack asked to stop to rest, McQueen pushed him to drive all through the night. Mack was so exhausted he fell asleep only to be suddenly awaken by some pranksters. When he jumped awake McQueen slipped off the ramp into the middle of oncoming traffic.
By not addressing Mack’s need for sleep first, McQueen ended up in a humbling and dangerous situation. Right in the middle of traffic!!
3) McQueen did not assume the best of others
When McQueen went to look for Mack, he zoomed past a sign for Radiator Springs and a police’s siren went off.
As McQueen slowed down, the Sheriff’s car backfired and McQueen wrongly assumed the Sheriff was shooting at him. Terrified he zoomed into the small town destroying everything in his path. Completely humiliated, he ended up dangling upside down from telephone wires.
4) McQueen thought he was better than others
McQueen was sentenced to fix the road he destroyed. His first attempt was terrible. He made the road too quickly and it was worse than before.
Doc, the town judge, challenged McQueen to a race, “If you win, you go and I fix the road. If I win, you do the road my way.”
In McQueen’s arrogance he accepted the challenge. Little did he know that Doc was actually the famous “Hudson Hornet”, the winner of three Piston cups.
Again McQueen is humbled as he overshot the turn in the dirt track, falling off a landing into a cactus patch.
Fortunately after 4 humiliating experiences McQueen began to put others before himself.
In a conversation with Doc, he heard the words of change, “When is the last time you cared about something except yourself, hot rod?”
“Quicker than quick” McQueen replaced “me” with “we”:
- He fixed the road in Radiator Springs.
- He helped the economy of the small town (buying new tires, bumper stickers, organic fuel, night vision goggles and a new paint job)
- He repaired the neon signs (something important to Sally)
The final moment in which McQueen puts other’s needs above his own was at the tie-breaking race in California. He had the chance to win the Piston Cup…his dream. Just as he was about to cross the finish line, he realized that the evil Chick Hicks rammed into the King, knocking the King out of the race. McQueen slammed on his brakes and went back to help the former champion.
In an act of humility, McQueen pushed The King across the finish line. McQueen came in last place but he finished a Champion. One who put a friend before himself…literally!
Ask your children if there are any other lessons they learned from the movie (friendship? slowing down and enjoying life?community? Unexpected friendship with Mater?)