Lessons from the movie, Onward

Onward has become one of my favorite movies.

I have learned some important lessons from the movie.

One of the biggest lessons that I learned was to be grateful.

If you haven’t watched the movie, then don’t read the rest. I don’t go over the whole movie but I do go over some scenes from the movie.

The main character is named Ian. Ian grew up without his father because his father died of an illness before he was born. He never got to know his dad. He does have an older brother named Barley. Barley is fearless and Ian fears every thing. Ian is in high school. Ian really wishes that his dad was there.

Ian loves to make to do list. He will either check or cross out the things that he has done.

In one scene, he writes that he wants to ask some kids to his birthday party on his to do list. He does end up asking them but then his brother shows up and embarrasses him and he ends up telling the other kids that his party has been cancelled. At the end of the day, he crossed off the item on his list that said he should ask the kids to the party.

Every time I look at this scene, I think to myself that he did ask the kids to the party. It just didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to.

Then I ask myself, haven’t I done that in my own life? I didn’t make a to do list on paper but it was in my head. I tell myself that I failed at something when I tried something new if it didn’t turn out how I wanted it to.

For example, when I was in my early twenties, I wanted to be married, have kids, and be a stay at home mother. I never wanted to work. My life didn’t turn out like I planned it in my twenties. About seven years ago, I considered my life a failure because I wasn’t married and my life plan wasn’t what I thought it would be.

Now I don’t consider my life a failure. I know that if I had of gotten married in my early twenties, I would probably be divorced by now. I didn’t know myself at twenty like I do now. My taste in men has changed over the years. Having a partner that is emotionally mature is more important to me than having a partner that is physically attractive. Don’t get me wrong I would like my partner to be physically attractive to me but in my early twenties that was all that I was really looking for in a partner was the physical attributes.

Ian may consider his to do list a failure because it didn’t turn out how he planned it but in reality it isn’t a failure.

Another thing that Ian wrote on his to do list for his sixteenth birthday was that he wanted to learn how to drive. He takes driver education and volunteers first. The teacher takes him on the highway and he is scared. The teacher tells him to merge into the traffic. He is so nervous but eventually he does merge into traffic but immediately gets back into the on ramp of the highway and states that he isn’t ready.

Again even though he crossed this item off of his list at the end of the day, he actually did merge into traffic. He just didn’t stay in the lane for a long time. Ian actually accomplished a lot of the things on his to do list for his sixteenth birthday but he doesn’t see it because they didn’t turn out how he wanted it to turn out.

Ian and Barley’s dad died before Ian was born. Ian wanted his dad in his life and misses him. He thinks that his life would be so much better if his dad was raising him. Ian was raised by his mom and his big brother, Barley. On Ian’s sixteenth birthday, his mom gives him and his brother a gift from their dad. It turns out that it is a magic wizard staff and a phoenix gem that will bring his dad back for one whole day. Barley tries the spell but it doesn’t work. When Ian tries the spell it works. Some how the spell doesn’t work all the way and only brings back the dad’s bottom half.

This starts the two brothers on a quest. It turns out that Ian has magic powers. The brothers have to go on a quest to find another phoenix gem. Barley is super excited because he is into magic.

With Ian’s magic and Barley’s knowledge of magic they go on a dangerous quest with their dad’s bottom half in tow.

Of course Ian makes a to do list of all the things that he wants to do with his dad. Some of the things include, “play catch, take a walk, have a heart to heart, laugh together, driving lessons, and share my life with him.”

On the quest, the two brothers become closer and Ian becomes more sure of himself. Barley teaches Ian all about magic and spells along the way.

At the end of the day, when they haven’t found a phoenix gem, Ian gets mad at Barley and tells him that he screwed up his one chance to meet his dad. Ian takes off with his dad’s bottom half in tow. He goes to sit on a cliff with his dad and takes out his to do list of all the things that he wanted to do with his dad. He starts to cross off the items. Towards the end of his list, he starts to think. He realized that on the quest, he has done all the things on his list with Barley.

He realizes that he has shared his life with his big brother and learned so much from him. He actually checks off the last item on the list because he realizes that he did do that item with his brother.

Again the lesson that I learn is to be grateful. Your life may not look like you want it to but there are still blessings in it.

If you haven’t watched this movie I would highly recommend it.

Whether the dad will ever know it, he went on a quest with his two sons. That quest also lead to Ian and Barley’s mom, Laurel, going on a quest of her own and she makes a new friend.

What are you grateful for?

What have you accomplished that didn’t go the way that you originally planned?