It’s not always easy to get through this thing we call life. Day after day we are bombarded with constant negative images. We are told we are too fat, too lazy, too dumb, too old, too ugly, too far behind the rest of the world, and so on and so on. And sadly, there are people in this world who derive pleasure from keeping others down. For those who allow it, the world can be a scary, cold, and unwelcoming place. A place where we are afraid to take on challenges, try new things, express who we really are, or act like ourselves. As a result, it is important, imperative even, that each of us takes an active role in determining how our life is going to play out, and specifically, what role we are going to play in it…a starring role, a supporting role, or that of a spectator.
When we first meet Quasimodo in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, we learn that he views life from the cathedral bell tower high above the village square, too afraid to be a participant in the festivities and everyday happenings going on below and all around him. His conscious decision to be a “spectator,” due to his various insecurities (most resulting from the abusive behavior of the reprehensible Judge Frollo) and a major deformity means he is missing out on even the most trivial joys that may be found “out there.” That is until Laverne, one of “Quasi’s” trusted gargoyle confidantes, gives him a boot in the pants by imparting these words of wisdom…“Take it from an old spectator, life’s not a spectator sport. If watchin’ is all you’re gonna do, then you’re gonna watch life go by without ya!” And with this simple message, Quasimodo begins to realize that being a participant or “spectator,” taking an active role in his life or a passive one, giving someone else power over him or not, is all up to him…it is a choice!
What I love about this quote is that it matches what I have been telling my two daughters and my students (I teach 5th grade) for years. My words come out a little differently, but the message is identical. My message to all who care to listen is that life is like a merry-go-round, in this case the Royal Carousel at Magic Kingdom, and it runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The choice we all have is that we can watch it spin round and round, day after day wondering what it is like to ride, or we can jump on and experience the ride for ourselves. But make no mistake…whether we choose to ride or not, the merry-go-round is still going to go. And, we can either listen to the stories of what it is like to ride the merry-go-round, or we can be the one telling the story. Simply put, the choice is ours!
Contributed by: Chris Gildea (NDD#207) Chris is a DDL Parenting Blogger and proud member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. Visit the Walt Disney World Moms Panel for help planning your Magical Trip. He is not a Disney employee. The postings on this site are his own and do not necessarily represent Disney’s positions or opinions.