I love the Toy Story movies. I'm not big on sequels or third installments of a movie for that matter, but I have to say that Toy Story 3 was just as good as its predecessors. Disney has a way of providing a great message for kids and usually enough entertainment for the adults. Toy Story 3 delivered.
The great thing about Toy Story is its continual message of teamwork and looking out for your friends. What a terrific bunch of toys. Woody is a great leader who makes sure all the toys stick together. Even though he's the favorite toy he never assumes that he's better than any of the others. It would be very easy for Woody to boast and brag and make fun of the others, but he doesn't. He treats everyone with respect and, for that, the other toys respect him.
What a simple and universal concept. Treat others as you want to be treated. Speak to others and you wish to be spoken to. To have a friend, be a friend. We could use more of the lessons learned from Toy Story in our playgrounds, schools and backyards. Maybe they should make watching the Toy Story movies mandatory in school. Maybe make Woody the new mascot?
We have had a rule in our house since my kids were born; my sons are not allowed to be mean to their toys or stuffed animals. If Puppy comes flying over the ballisters from the second floor, that is cause for an instant time-out. If Puppy gets thrown through the air or twisted out of shape, someone is in trouble. We don't hurt Puppy's feelings or hurt him physically. Some people might think I'm flat-out crazy because it's just a stuffed animal, but not only does this teach the boys to respect their things it also teaches them about compassion. Everyone has feelings that we need to be aware of. Even Puppy.
I have always had a hard time getting rid of the toys with which the boys were especially enamored, but after watching this movie I may never get rid of another toy again. I used to feel a twinge of sadness after rounding up the toys the boys outgrew because it meant admitting the boys were getting older. Every LeapFrog or Fisher Price toy that I got rid of brought a new level of mourning for the babies who were no longer babies. I felt a sort of punch in my gut as soon as I dropped off the very toys that made my toddlers squeal with delight more times than I could count. It stings.
So, Puppy isn't going anywhere anytime soon. He and Moosey and the Polar Bear and other puppy and the other puppy will always have a safe place in our home. I may do just like Andy did and save the toys Nicholas and Christopher have loved for another deserving child who will treat them with respect. My boys have learned valuable lessons with their toy friends. They have learned how to be a friend and how to take care of their friends. In return, Puppy and the others have been loyal unlike many others.
Friends like that last a lifetime.