During this shutdown, Disney has done something wonderful, they have released their latest Pixar movie, “Onward” directly to Disney+. In the midst of the Covid-19 virus, at a time when we can’t venture out to the movies, Disney has started releasing first run movies directly into homes. As I enter the third weekend sequestered with the boys, I was please to see that “Onward” shows the value of a father in a kid’s life.

“Onward” is a tough story of two brothers, Ian & Bartley, who on Ian’s 16th birthday begin a quest for magic to bring back their deceased father for a single day. As the story opens, Ian is a shy, skinny kid who is missing a father he never knew.  On his birthday, he is hoping he’ll have the courage to change his life and begin checking off a few goals.

His older brother, Bartley, is boisterous opposite big brother, who is disappointed to be living at home, playing video and role-playing fantasy games. He spends his time supporting and working on a barely running retro van, painted with a unicorn symbol on the side. Bartley’s absentee father issues show up in his loner, underachieving, free style, throw-caution-to-the-wind, failure-to- launch mannerisms.

The Value of a Father Revealed in a Quest

The boys lives begin changing with their widowed Mom give them a hidden gift from their father.  On Ian’s 16th birthday, Mom reveals a wrapped package.  It turns out to be a wizard stick with a magic spell that could bring back their Dad. The boys excited with their newfound knowledge, manage to get the spell half right. Resulting in their father appearing from the waist down as just a pair of khakis and shoes with whimsical socks. The kids must now quick work together, go on a quest to find more missing magical power to perhaps share a moment with their Dad before he disappears forever. Of course nothing goes as plan.

While comical at times, this is a rather deep and emotional movie that focuses on grief felt by kids missing their Dad.

As blended parents, I think it is a great opportunity to sit down with your kids to watch, discussion, and perhaps open up conversations about going back and forth between houses. For other families, it addresses feelings children feel in the loss of a missing parent.

Sharing Core Memories with Your Kids

For me, it expresses the stress and struggle all American families are feeling during this crisis.  It reminds me the importance of sharing every moment you can and building memories with your kids. NOW is the time to pause and take every opportunity to spend time at home creating and making core memories. In the end, remember kids need hugs and affirmation expressing that you are proud of them! Especially if you are their Dad.

What part of the movie touched you?

Image from Disney Pixar’s Onward.