As a mom, I find that it could be challenging to find movies or cartoons that promote the same values as we do at home. Sometimes I think I may have found something good but as I filter it, I find that there is too much something or other I’m not crazy about our girls spending their time watching. So if I find a movie or cartoon I find might be wholesome, I would love to share them with you.
I like that movies can sometimes be great conversation starters. A particular event in the movie may model a great example of good or poor choices, consequences good or bad for our actions, or sometimes it may provide an opportunity to talk about difficult life events such as the loss of a family member or friend.
What’s streaming in your home? What’s your personal filter? What great conversations can you have with your kids during or after you’ve watched a movie together?
Streaming on Netflix this month is a movie titled: American Girl: Grace Stirs up Success
I found the movie provided for lots of great topics for conversation. Here are a few that stood out to me and a few questions I’m going to ask my girls ages 6 and 4. They are just some ideas. I won’t ask all of them. They are just there as a guide for me. I find that when I’m talking with them, something they say will guide the questions I ask. As tempting as it is to talk a lot, I try to do a lot of listening and interject sparingly. They enjoy being heard.
Friendship and Family Relationships: Demonstrates how friendships can have difficult moments and how communicating can help us get through difficult moments with friends and family when we are willing to try to talk it out. In the movie Grace faces challenges communicating with her two friends back home, her cousin in Paris, and in some ways, even her uncle who owns the pastry shop in Paris.
We Ask: What did Grace choose to do when her cousin refused to talk to her? Have you ever had trouble talking to someone about something that was important to you? What did you do? or What could you do if it happens to you?
Entrepreneurship/Ambition: Demonstrates in more than one occasion (through a young girl’s example as she tries to start a cupcake selling business, her friends as they try a dog grooming business, the grandparents who own a bakery, and the uncle who owns a pastry shop in Paris), how you can use something you are passionate about to start a small business and earn money.
We Ask: What did you like about Grace’s idea to make a cupcake baking business? Is there something you like to do that can help you earn money towards something you want or to help others?
Having a Positive Relationship with Your Parents: There are plenty of occasions in the movie where Grace is seen taking something over with her parents, especially her mom. She models taking advice from a parent when you are not sure what to do.
We Say: I noticed that Grace talked to her mom a lot in the movie when she was having a hard time figuring something out.
We Ask: Who do you like to talk to when you need help figuring something out? We Say: I want you to know that daddy and I (or fill in the blank here) are always willing to listen to you and help you figure things out when you are not sure what to do.
Persistence & Perseverance: Grace’s Uncle wants his French macarons to be sold in an elite hotel and has tried many times to get noticed without any luck. Grace and her cousin come up with many creative ideas to get the macarons noticed. They have many failures but continue to come up with new ideas and try over and over again until one of their ideas work. Persistence and Perseverance are great words to introduce or talk about with your children. This movie gives them a visual example in a funny scenario of what these are. Persistence and Perseverance are modeled in other parts of the movie as well, like when Grace really want to learn how to bake like her uncle as has to practice and try many times.
Ask: Do you know what persistence is? or Do you know what perseverance is? or you could define it for them. When did a character in the movie show persistence or perseverance? What do you think would have happened if _______________ gave up?
Teamwork: Grace discusses with uncle the power of teamwork they experienced when they were baking macarons for the special day. They talk about everyone playing a different and important role to get the job done. Grace makes a connection to the special and different roles each family member plays within their own family. Teamwork is needed throughout the movie for different things to get accomplished, like redecorating the grandparents’ bakery and getting it up and going again.
We Say: Wow! Making all those pastries was sure hard work!
We Ask: Do you think Grace’s uncle could have done it by himself? How where they able to get it all done in time? Have you ever had to work with others to get something done?
Forgiveness: There are a few occasions in the movie when a character could have held a grudge for wrongdoing by someone else. Graces’ friends forgive her for not believing they were capable of doing something special on their own. Grace forgives her cousin for not being kind to her.
We Ask: Do you know what forgiveness is? or you could define forgiveness for them. It was nice of Grace to forgive her cousin for not being kind to her. Have you ever had to forgive someone? Do you think it’s important to forgive others? Why?
Excellence: Although Grace’s uncle is tough. He is tough for a reason. He wants his pastry shop to offer nothing but the very best. He models taking the time to make sure everything is presentable and delicious. He takes pride in his work. Grace and the other girls working with him, learn this lesson as he teaches them how to bake and prepare for presentations.
We Say: Grace’s uncle sure cares about how his macarons taste and how well everything looks. It means he cared about excellence. We Ask: Do you know what excellence is? or you could define excellence for them. Where else in the movie did we see a character care about excellence? Do you think it’s important? Is there something you want to show excellence in?
Creativity: Both the uncle and Grace as well as the other contestants in the Junior Master Pastry Chef competition have to show creativity in creating their pastry creations.
Blended Families and Welcoming a New Baby: The topic of merging and growing families is seen in this movie and the emotions that sometimes emerge from them can be discussed. For children not coming from blended families, this may provide an opportunity to discuss them.
Having Fun While You Work: Work, even doing something you love, can get very difficult and tiring. The movie has scenes in which the characters have to make a decision between quitting or pushing through. They display a good attitude even when its hard.
Ask: What did the characters do when they felt tired from so many hours of work making the pastries at the shop? Have you ever felt tired doing your work? What can you do to get through it?
Facing Challenges/Taking Criticism: Grace really wants to help her uncle bake in his bakery but faces many challenges learning something new. She has a difficult time learning how to do things her uncle’s way. She feels like giving up but decides to try and try again.
We Ask: What did Grace have a hard time with in the movie? Did she quit? What did she do? Have you ever felt like quitting something? What can you do when you feel the urge to quit? or What can you do when something is difficult? (We are teaching our girls to say, “This is going to take some effort and time to complete or to learn.” instead of “This is too hard for me!”)
Diversity: In the movie, Grace has to travel to France (nice!). We talk about different languages and other countries a lot in our home and like the girls to be exposed to many other languages. This is yet another opportunity for them to hear another language (occasionally in the movie) and talk about one of the many places where French is spoken.
I give Grace Stirs Up Success a thumbs up for a safe movie to stream at our home that lends itself for many good conversations. This is also a good movie to own and have in the car for long trips.
Please keep in mind that, although the movie does not show the actual American Girl doll, it is an indirect way to market their line of dolls and accessories. Grace was its new 2015 doll. Our girls do not own any of the American Girl Dolls nor are we in the market for one. This is strictly my personal review of the movie. I am not getting compensated in any way for this review.
I would love to hear from you? Are there any movies you find are great conversation starters? Is there a movie you would like me to review? What kinds of questions have you asked your children after watching a family film?
If you think someone can benefit from this post, please feel free to share on via your social media.
I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Affiliate links provided. . It doesn’t cost you any extra. When you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way. This helps support my site and lets me keep doing what I do. Thank you!