Talking to Your Child About The Greatest Showman

The Greatest ShowmanWe’re late to the game, but over the weekend we rented The Greatest Showman. Now, we are currently watching it on repeat. My kids will watch the same movie over and over. At this point, we’ve pretty well got it memorized, and even my three year old asks to watch “The Greatest Snowman.” I’m so excited this movie is out, for a number of reasons. One reason is that I enjoyed The Greatest Showman, and it’s a break from silly Netflix cartoons. Another reason is it’s a great, family friendly movie. We are very careful about what we let our children watch. We also enjoy having conversations with our children, especially our six year old, about movies we watch. There are often such great lessons she can learn from great movies. Here are a few different themes brought up in The Greatest Showman, and how to talk to your child about them. 

1. Perseverance. 

The story of P.T. Barnum is definitely a rags to riches, to rags and back to riches story. Though we did not focus on the money aspect of the movie, it is an important part of the movie. We did, however, focus more on the hard work he put in, the sacrifices he made, and how it paid off in the end. We also focused on him giving up something he loved to actually watch his kids grow up. While this is a little grown up for a six year old, she did understand that when you work hard, there’s always a reward of some kind. 

2. Accepting Others How They Are. 

So, basically, Barnum rounds up a whole bunch of “freaks,” or people who are different from the “normal” (whatever that means) person at the time. Barnum doesn’t ask them to change who they are; they do not ask each other to change. They form a bit of family, all accepting each other. I mean the lady with the beard, the little person, and other people who learn to fit into the circus. We talk with our kids often about “it doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters how you treat other people.” The Greatest Showman and Wonder both reinforce this for us. I’m glad the movie shows how people who are “different” feel when they are treated poorly, and how people can be cruel. We are always talking about how you need to be the nice kid that treats everyone kindly. The Greatest Showman is a great example of this. 

3. Racial Divides

Zac Efron (Phillip Carlyle) falls in love with a girl of mixed race. His parents are furious. Other people are judging them. They sing a beautiful song, “Rewrite the Stars,” talking about how they wish things would be different. It was so great to use this to talk to our baby about how silly it is to treat people differently based on the color of their skin. We talked about the age old, “treat others the way you want to be treated” and again, just being kind to people. 

Overall, I’d say plan a movie night, cuddle up with some popcorn, and watch this movie with your kid(s). You won’t regret it! 

Kendra Courville
Kendra, originally from Alabama, has called Lafayette home for more than 20 years. After her time at LSU (Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education), Kendra moved back to Lafayette to marry her love, Justin. She has been married to Justin for just over 8 years. They have two daughters, Lillian who was born in October of 2011, and Annie, who was born in January of 2015. Kendra also has a Boston Terrier, named Mister. When she's not busy teaching and planning for her 3rd grade reading classes, Kendra enjoys hanging out with Justin and her girls, family, and friends. She also loves Jesus, coffee, cooking up both healthy and unhealthy meals (it's all about balance y'all), a good workout, and reading.


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