by Jennie Smith
“If you can’t see it, hear it or feel it….it doesn’t exist!,” said Sour Kangaroo to Horton, and anyone else who would listen.
As I sat in the movie theater watching Horton Hears A Who with my three boys, I was struck by the amount of discussion material packed into this movie! In case you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, here is a quick summary (spoiler alert).
Horton, an energetic elephant, hears a noise from a speck of dust that is travelling through the air. That speck holds the entire world of the Whos. Horton has to get that speck of dust to a safe place – otherwise, all of the Whos will perish. However, Sour Kangaroo does not believe there is any world on that speck of dust and since she is the official boss of the forest, she attempts to convince everyone that Horton is wrong. She hires an evil vulture, Vlad, to get rid of the speck. When Vlad is unsuccessful, Kangaroo organizes a mob who ties up Horton and threatens to put the speck in a boiling vat of oil. All Horton has to do is to deny the existence of the world on the speck and all will be alright. In the end, the speck is saved and, in a shocking turn of events, Horton forgives Sour Kangaroo and befriends her.
There were so many things to talk about with my kids after we saw this movie!
Knowing God Exists
We started by talking about Kangeroo’s thought that “If you can’t see it, hear it, or feel it…it doesn’t exist.” I asked my boys if they thought that was true. We discussed how many people think the same of God – that because you can’t see Him or hear Him, He must not exist. We talked about how we know God exists – and how we see Him, hear Him, and feel Him. We see Him in His provision for our family. We hear Him when a Scripture speaks directly to our pain or convicts us. We feel Him when we have unexplainable peace in the middle of the dark times. It was wonderful to hear my young boys realize that they do hear God, they do see His hand, and they do feel Him.
Renounce Your Faith
Later we moved into a discussion about the end of the movie when all Horton has to do is say the world of the Whos does not exist and all will be alright. There will come a time, and it may be in the time of our children’s lives, where we are asked to renounce God or lose our lives. Those times are quickly on the horizon. But my children and I talked about times they are asked to reject God in their actions. It is hard when you are asked by friends to do something you shouldn’t. It’s very difficult to say “That’s not right. I can’t participate in that because God would not be pleased.”
I love this passage from 2 Timothy 3:12-15: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
We need to encourage our kids to be strong in their faith, just like Horton was strong in his conviction and was willing to face a vat of oil for the truth.
The last lesson from the movie is an important one. Sour Kangaroo was so mean to Horton! She was cruel in her words and her actions and she almost killed Horton’s Whoville friends. But Horton forgave her; he invited her in as his friend. What a witness that was to my kids! We talked about the way that Christ forgives us and how we are to carry out that same forgiveness to our friends and to our siblings. A great verse for the family to memorize is Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
I didn’t expect to go to the movies that day and walk away with deep theological conversation ideas for my kids. But it was a beautiful time of encouragement and one we speak of often. What a beautiful illustration of some of life’s toughest lessons. Have you seen great movies that lead to amazing conversations with your kids? Leave some ideas in the comments below or interact with us on our Facebook page!