Lessons on Life and Love from Beauty and the Beast

I spent yesterday morning chaperoning a field trip with both munchkins to watch “Beauty and the Beast” at our local community college. As expected for a Disney-related play, it was equal parts scary and sweet. Poor C ended up sitting on my lap for most of the show because the Beast had some anger management issues after the enchanted castle spirits cast a spell on him. Thankfully, Beauty entered the picture soon after and came to care for him, despite his hardened heart. She agreed to marry him, and he turned back into a prince (and secretly stuffed his beastly mask into a bag as C informed me). 😉

I came away from this play with two thoughts: one, Disney stories are not exactly kid-friendly, and two, what are kids supposed to learn from watching this?

There were some good lessons in the play, such as commitment to your family and keeping your word. But of course the moral of the story was: Don’t judge a guy by his looks or wealth or status. In a culture that values all of the above, however, that’s a hard lesson to swallow.

That was the belief I grew up with. Both my parents went to college, I went to college and grad school, and multiple people in my extended family have Ph.D.’s. The majority of my friends at school and church existed in similar bubbles. As an Asian, you’re expected to work hard in school and get straight A’s so you can go to a good college and graduate with a degree (or two). So imagine my surprise when I met and fell for a Chinese guy who (at the time) had done none of the above.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net

Good thing hubby was cute. (I kid!) But it wasn’t just his infectious smile that caught my attention. I was also drawn to his enthusiasm for life (he reminded me of a chinchilla bouncing off the walls) and the kind way he treated people. When I found out he hadn’t followed the typical path of every other Asian I knew, I was shocked. But not shocked enough that his education (or lack thereof) became a deal breaker (thankfully, it wasn’t for my parents either).

Because there’s more to a person than the abbreviations following their last name, the size of their house or the car they drive. Neither is one’s worth measured by their dress size or by how many friends they have on Facebook. The true value of a person can only be found in their heart.

That’s what Beauty believed when she fell in love with the Beast. And what I believed when I fell for hubby.

Nevertheless, this is a lesson I’m still learning. For instance, when E told me he doesn’t want to go to college, I was a liiitle upset. 😛 Sure, he’s years away from seriously thinking about it, but in my mind, the decision to go to college is a no brainer. Good thing hubby is more open-minded. Maybe given some time, I will be, too. 😉

For now I will do my best to rest in this truth from 1 Samuel 16:7: “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Here’s the song, “Something There” from the Beauty and the Beast, which describes the moment Belle saw the Beast’s heart for the first time. 🙂

What outward things about a person do you value? What inward things would you like to value instead?

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