I have friends who have courageously purged all Disney Princess paraphernalia from their houses with their messages of “if you wish it to be true hard enough, it will come true” and a false standard of beauty and comfort in life. I have considered this purge myself, but there would be hardly anything left in our house.
Today when watching Cinderella for approximately the 347th time, my 3.5 year old daughter asked me about the wicked stepsisters: “Daddy, why do they do bad things?” What an excellent question! I paused for a moment, gathering my thoughts on how to communicate to a three year old the psychological factors of bad parenting, possible child abuse, lack of discipline, absentee fathers, etc, that would lead to their abhorrent behavior, but a simpler and more correct answer occurred to me.
“Because they are bad.” I told her. Proudly recalling one of my recent favorite Piper sermons.
And then a moment later, in the scene where Anastasia hits Drizella over the head with her flute, at which the Stepmother reminds them “Girls! Remember. Above all, self control!” (Parenting advice that had produced the two monsters in the first place) it occurred to me:
“And we are just like them.”
As a proud daddy, it is often difficult to place my daughter in any other part of that story than Cinderella herself. However, the more a recalled the story, the more I realized how wrong my perspective was.
Cinderella is perfect in every way: cheerfully, humbly, selflessly, and lovingly serving those who despise her, though by rights she is the one that deserves to be served! Cinderella is a sort of Christ figure in the story.
Now I’m thinking about how I can use my daughter’s absolutely thorough understanding of the storyline to help her see her need for Christ.
We are not the would-be-princess in dire circumstances, bound by some unhappy twist of fate to an undeserved life of repression. We are the stepsisters doing the binding, coldly usurping the place of the rightful ruler of our house by our selfish pettiness.
In our house, the message of Cinderella will no longer be “If you keep on believing, the dream that you wish, will come true.” The message will be that we are wicked and ugly like the stepsisters, but God loves us in spite of this he proved it by sending his Son to die for our sins and give forgiveness to all who would trust him.