I like a good Disney movie. Some are better than others. My taste runs in the more contemporary circle. For me, the older “classics” produce the response akin to running fingers down a chalkboard. Not pleasant and I try to avoid watching them. My sister, MZ, likes Sleeping Beauty so I have watched that one more than the one time obligatory viewing to say I’ve seen it. If you remember, a young princess is born and three good fairies bestow her gifts. Two give her the gift of beauty and song. Before the third fairy can share her gift though, a curse is pronounced on the young princess. This causes the third fairy to modify her gift and make it the most practical. Let’s review this for a moment (not to ruin it for MZ), if you had a long awaited baby girl born and could give her any gift – any gift at all – what would you give her?
Each fairy could only give one gift to the young princess. ONE GIFT. Personally, I think I’d forgo the gifts of beauty and song. Although, I admit either gift would be a blessing, I just don’t know that they are what I’d want to have my child endowed with if there could only be three.
Granted, that last gift of falling asleep instead of death came in quite handy for Princess Aurora. But in the absence of Maleficent putting an evil curse on my child, I’d prefer gifts of determination, humility, and charity.
Let’s start with charity. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 King James Version). Mormon also explains, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail. But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall we well with him” (Moroni 7:46-47). Now I know, we have each been blessed with gifts of the Spirit. I also know, if we do not possess a certain gift we can pray for it and work on it and practice it until we obtain it. But if gifts were being handed out to my child, I would hope this most important gift would be considered before a gift of beauty. If you think about it, a person filled with charity has an inward beauty anyway that far surpasses physical appearance.
I’d also like it if my child received the gift of humility. This gift has become overlooked in the quest for self-rights. To be as the obedient and faithful Moses who was considered “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Recognizing that “man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend” (Mosiah 4:9). Humility is the opposite of pride. It leads to faith, hope, and charity. Again, if gifts are being handed out, I’d hope this would be considered before the gift of song.
Finally, I’d hope my child had the gift of determination. Success may not come on the first try and that’s okay. I hope my child would not give up but become determined to succeed. Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Just as the final gift for Princess Aurora saved her life, this final gift would save my child. Because with determination, my princess could eventually achieve her other two gifts if she lost them.
No offense to Disney’s story tellers but I just don’t think a gift of beauty and song are practical gifts for a child. While each of us have been given certain gifts and blessings, if I had my choice, I’d prefer my child to have three gifts that actually mean something.
But Sleeping Beauty is still a nice story.