I saw the movie, Wonder with my family this weekend and WOW! What an incredible way to slow down and recognize the uniqueness of each of us. We really are all extraordinary and Thanksgiving felt like perfect timing for us to stop and be thankful for friendships, family, and our individuality and this movie perfectly captured all of those thoughts.
The story line was centered around a boy with obvious external abnormalities; but throughout the movie we really learn how everyone has their own battles and insecurities, even if we can’t see them.
The mama, depicted in the movie as August’s champion, gives so much of her life to him as she is protecting, educating, guiding, and loving him. She is depicted as meager and dowdy at first and as her son comes out of his shell, she does as well. It’s like the cocoon is broken for both mother and son. As August gains confidence and courage, she allows herself to have her own identity and visibly “let’s her hair down.” She smiles bigger and laughs louder as her son teaches everyone around him about being different, about insecurities, about acceptance, and about kindness.
Then there’s August’s sister, Via. She wanted a brother and she obviously loves him very much, but she struggles with the idea that she’s not special or unique because so much attention is given to her brother. She struggles as she wants to feel loved and feel like a valued member of her family, yet she also respects and understands that her parents need to focus on her brother. It’s an internal battle for her, “I know my brother needs my parents but so do I! If I speak up I will look ungrateful or needy.” She fights her own battles and insecurities and faces unkind “friends.” It’s not just people who have obvious differences who need love and kindness, it’s everyone.
Every character shows both strength and weakness. The rawness of the way kids treat one another and the reality of imperfections in parents truly strikes a nerve.
This movie truly is a Wonder. It’s wonderful; it’s powerful. It is awe inspiring. It will make you cry, laugh, empathize, but most importantly it’s a conversation starter.
Are we accepting? Are we kind? Are we encouraging? Do we celebrate our own individuality? Do we have our own internal or external battles and insecurities?
What actions can we take to choose the path where we feel confident and encouraged that also allows others to feel warmth, love, hope, and possibilities? I will start with this challenge. Will you join me?
I am going to choose to be kind to strangers, put a smile on my face, take an extra minute to hold doors for people, say thank you, and look people in the eye at the grocery checkout. I am going to choose to be kind to myself when I look in the mirror and find strength, not faults. If we start with positive self-talk, we can spread more kindness and more acceptance into the rest of our world.