Written By: Sarah Henry, MA, LPC, LMFT
This quarantine is rough, y’all. I know you already know that. It’s been a little over a month that I have been away from my career in family therapy and chosen to stay inside my home, isolated with just my dogs and my husband in Houston. (Let it be known, my husband is still alive.) This time inside has given me the wonderful opportunity to pour over all of my streaming devices’ libraries to find the best, most inspiring, and sometimes trashiest television and movies. While Netflix has typically been fairly good to me – I’m talkin to you “What’s New Scooby Doo?” and “Tiger King” – my daily go to streaming service is actually Disney+. I’ve watched all of my favorite Princess movies, all of the Marvel cinematic universe again, and peeked at the Mandalorian for a precious glimpse of Baby Yoda. I threw a party for the early release of Frozen 2 and Onward. It’s been a joy, honestly. As a family therapist, my time spent watching Disney + has opened my eyes to the opportunity we have for some truly valuable family time during this quarantine period. This unprecedented slow down from work, school, sports, and activities allows us to take a time out and focus on what’s important. We need to seize this opportunity to truly connect with our families.
Movies Can Spark Important Conversations On Family Values
Something hit me a little differently the other day when I was watching Coco. I’m not sure what it was because I was too blinded by my tears as Miguel sang to Mama Coco “Remember Me”, but I realized that if I had kids with me it would be such a great learning moment for them. I started to daydream about pausing the movie to sit and talk with them about the importance of family and how we can learn so much from our elders, even if it feels like they are a little distant. We could discuss the importance of family traditions, share family stories, and create these life long bonds together that would last even beyond this life. It made me hopeful for the end of this quarantine and the next chapter of my life as a mom one day.
Into the Unknown: Movies Can Inspire Your Family
Cut to the next night when I was watching Frozen 2 with my dogs. I identify with Elsa feeling out of place and constantly wondering why. I get wanting to figure out where my place in this world is and constantly looking for external validation that I’m doing ok or I’m in the right spot. Her journey to Ahtohallan is so inspiring to me. She knows there’s something out there for her and she fights her way through the dangerous sea into the unknown (see what I did there?) to make it to this point where everything else is stripped away except for herself. She learns that she is the only person, the only thing, that can validate and encourage her to be all that she has the potential to be. She is the one she’s been waiting for. There I was again, crying, of course, imagining watching this with my own daughter someday telling her she can be anything she wants to be when she grows up. She doesn’t need to wait for someone to tell her she is enough. I pray my children will feel loved and confident in themselves to achieve whatever it is they feel called to do.
Make Family Movie Time a Time to Connect
And here’s my charge for you, quarantined friend. While watching movies seems pretty sloth-like and monotonous these days, I encourage you to take that family movie time and dig a little deeper. Maybe take some time to think of discussion questions for the movies you want to watch. Take time to pause and talk with your kids (or spouse) about what you could learn from Buzz and Woody, Moana, or Nemo. Use this precious free time away from the hustle and bustle of work to really dig into your core values as a family and build those connections we might have missed without this opportunity to slow down. It sounds cheesy, but honestly, most of the best things in life are!
Watching movies together can be so therapeutic in a time like this. Being able to escape into a film can teach you how to express your fears, dreams, needs, and inspirations in ways you may not know otherwise. It lowers one’s defenses and allows new bonds to form. It can ease us into tough conversations and guide us towards a new appreciation of life.
So, give it a go this week. Let everyone pick their own movie and think of some creative follow up, discussion questions. Good luck! Stay safe and enjoy the rest of your family time.
During these days of isolation you don’t need to feel alone. Malaty Therapy can help you get through these strange times brought on by COVID19. If you’re worried, anxious, stressed we’re here for you! Call us now at (713) 628-3966 to set up a phone or video chat therapy session today!