We all grew up with Disney and fairy tales, so we know how they choose to favor love and marriage. They like to teach us how the purpose of marriage is to go from “rags to riches” after a first meeting with some charming prince. No care is put to personality or reason, love is celebrated around the concept of earning some self-seeking reward.
But the good news is, Disney has learned from that over the years. Their newest adaptation to Cinderella tells the same traditional tale, but with greater emphasis put on developing the romance between Ella and the prince. Now they actually have time to talk and get to know each other, affirming how their love for one another is genuine, and not just falling in love with the concept of being in love.
The key to developing their relationship is the simple philosophy that Ella’s mother gives her as a child: “Have courage, and be kind.” These words prove to carry extraordinary value as she’s put through the difficulty of living with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. She never returns hatred with hatred, and even vows to stay at the house in memory of her parents.
An example: She didn’t have much of any friends, but she still treated the house mice with hospitality, even feeding them some of the few crumbs of food she had. She didn’t expect anything in return, since they’re mice, but it still helped her feel content with her poor treatment.
It may have looked easy for characters in a fairy tale, but in reality, the challenge is unimaginable, especially for somebody with autism.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #69: I Walked Five Miles to School…
In this chapter in my dad’s book, he describes an autistic’s reaction to a poor situation as “amplifying,” how “what may seem minor to you could be like the end of the world to him.” I cannot even count the number of times I felt this very thing.
I remember back when I went on a New Year’s camp with my church. On our last day there, as we were waiting for the busses to arrive and take us home, we kept hearing updates about how the busses could not make it up the road to our location because the ice was making the road impossible to drive on. Therefore, we had no choice but to wait an extra day to possibly find a bus to take us all home. In addition, the cabins all lost power, and we were knee-deep in snow. All these thoughts were running through my head including, “What if we never make it back home? What if we all die up here? What did I do to deserve this?” Meanwhile, the other students around me were having fun.
These same types of sudden occurrences may be tolerable and even fun to a non-autistic, but for somebody on the spectrum, it would feel like getting teeth pulled without anesthetics. If anyone like me can’t make the most of a difficult situation, then it becomes all the harder to treat other people with kindness like what Ella does.
It’s not that we people with autism are mean people, or refuse to think positive, it’s just that our amplifying of feelings gets in the way of us doing so. We would like to remain positive and see the silver lining in a sudden inconvenience, it’s just hard. We need help. Below are some practical steps that we can all take together so that everyone, whether autistic or not, can take on poor situations with more grace and love.
- If somebody is going through a poor situation, don’t say to them, “it could be worse.” This type of mentality gives off the impression of being whiny or ungrateful, or not even acknowledging the poor predicament. Instead, don’t be afraid to have a good cry about your pain.
- If you know somebody with autism who can’t adjust to inconveniences, allow him or her a good 10-15 minutes alone to sink the thought in. Then once he or she is ready to talk, just listen. Wait to speak until after hearing the other’s inner thoughts.
- If you have autism, then I know how hard it is seeing the bright side of a bad situation. From my experiences, the best solution is to react with kindness. It’s just like how Ella fights her poor predicament with kindness and later gets her rewards, you will too if you show the right heart.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!