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Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Disney Movies Part 3: Dumbo

As a Disney kid, one of my favorite things to do is to take a trip down memory lane and re-watch all of my favorite Disney movies. However, it is always fun to try something new, or, in this case, watch a new movie. This is my first time watching Dumbo and I’m actually pretty ashamed of that fact. I mean, how is it possible that I could have gone twenty years without seeing a movie with cute baby animals?

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Not only is this film too cute for words, but, as with all Disney movies, it also puts forth some valuable life lessons that everyone can learn from. And, if you can learn important things while also receiving a massive dose of cute, well, that just makes it better.

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1. Never underestimate the power of a mother’s love.

If you ever want to make me cry, first of all, shame on you.  Second of all, all you have to do is play “Baby Mine” and I’m gone. For me, the litmus test for a great movie is whether or not there are moments that tug at your heartstrings. Without a doubt, Dumbo passes with flying colors. While there are many different types of love in the world, there is not one that matches the love between a mother and her child. At college, with homework, classes, clubs, work, and whatever else you have going on, it can be hard to remember to stay connected with those back home. This movie is great reminder to stay in touch with your mom and all your other family and friends.

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2.  Adults can also be bullies.

The thing I like about Dumbo is that, for the most part, it is a very cute, positive movie. However, like all things, there does have to be at least one hard lesson to keep the film grounded. The hard truth of this movie is that, unfortunately, bullying is not just a kid thing. Grown-ups can also be mean.  While it is important to teach children the important lesson of kindness, sometimes we need to re-teach adults the same thing. It is true that people, adults and kids alike, have the tendency to be mean, but…

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3.  People can change.

Just like the adult elephants, the crows are really mean to Dumbo at first. They mock him for having big ears and for thinking that he can fly. However, once they learn about his past and what happened to his mother, they apologize and decide to help him. This is important because, while people can be mean, sometimes it is worth giving them a second chance.

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4. Your best friends can come from the most unlikely places.

Who would have thought that a baby elephant and a little mouse could become best friends? It may not be the most likely pairing, but Timothy the Mouse proves to be a perfect and loyal companion for Dumbo. While almost everyone else is against him, Dumbo finds a true but unlikely ally in Timothy. Even though Dumbo is afraid of him at first, just like all of the other elephants, he grows to trust Timothy and consider him a true friend. When you first get to college, the prospect of making new friends can be a scary one. This film teaches that you should never rule anyone out. You both may be pursuing two completely different majors or you might be from two completely different backgrounds. However, you might end up becoming best friends, despite, or even because of, these differences.

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5. Don’t be ashamed of what makes you different.

As Timothy says, “The very things that hold you down are gonna carry you up and up and up.” Just because there is something about you that is different, that doesn’t mean that it is a bad thing. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people strive to be just like everyone else. While this can make embracing your differences daunting, it is important to know that what makes you different is what makes you special. Don’t be afraid to let your true self shine.

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6. Believe in yourself.

At first, Dumbo didn’t think he could fly and needed a magic feather to prove to him that he could. In reality, he had the ability to fly the whole time; he just needed to believe that he could. Once you have faith in yourself, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Whether it’s getting an “A” on your next big exam or landing your dream job, as long as you believe you can, anything is possible.

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Rachel is a sophomore History Major and Women's Studies Minor hailing from Seneca Falls, NY. Her hobbies include reading, writing, spending time with friends, and spending more time than is humanly possible watching the TV show Once Upon a Time and reading/writing fan fiction. Her life goals include writing something that will later become famous and working as an important person at an important place.
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