The Lion King is a Disney animation that was made for children to view. But along with a fun cartoon to watch, Christian critics agree it also has many valuable lessons for viewers to learn. Simba is a young cub which children can relate to. Even though Simba is a prince, he still has friends, a caring family, and rules he has to abide by.
Simba has a family, like many other children, who has “good” and “bad” members. Simba’s mother and father are looked at as good people, however, Simba’s uncle Scar is not. Simba, maybe being too young to realize this, still respects his uncle and listens to many things he has to say.
This teaches children that even though you may not like someone, or you may not think they are good people, you still need to treat them with respect. On the flip side of this lesson, if Mufasa or Simba had of known Scar’s real intentions for his family, they may not have given him this respect. This may not be such a valuable lesson for children, but in the movie’s defense, most children would not pick up on this, and if they did, would not believe their “evil” relatives are plotting to kill them.
Friendship in The Lion King is a big focus. Besides the friendship Simba develops with Timon and Pumba, Nala is Simba’s best friend. Little to their knowledge, Simba and Nala are pledged to be married. When this is brought to their attention, Simba is embarrassed by this saying he can not marry Nala, she is his best friend. But what they are both too young to realize is, friendship is a strong basis for marriage. Simba and Nala growing up together gives them a chance to learn about each other and come to love each other.
Another moral to be learned in The Lion King is respect for your parents. Although Simba seems to have a lot of respect for his mother and father right from the beginning, he does make mistakes as any child would. Simba going to the elephant graveyard against his father’s wishes was, however, disrespectful. Simba soon learns that his mistakes disappoint his parents and he has to suffer the consequences. This is setting a good example for young viewers of this movie.
One lesson in this film which Christian critics might not always agree with is the topic of death. When Mufasa is killed, young Simba is left to find him and morn alone. For a movie that is made specifically for children, this is a harsh reality to something they may not understand. However, another view on this topic may be it is an easy way to ease children into the topic, teaching them that people pass, and life moves on. Even though it is a cartoon, children may be able to relate it to real life.
Honesty and openness is something children are constantly learning about and working on. Children learn that in most cases throughout life, being honest is the right thing to do and will sometimes help the truth come out. In The Lion King, if Simba had gone back to his family and had been honest and open about what had happened, he would have learned the truth. Simba would have then realized he was not to blame for his father’s death, and he would not have left the Pride Lands.
When Simba meets Timon and Pumba, they introduce him to what they call Hakuna Matata. As the song says, “it means no worries for the rest of your days, it’s a problem free philosophy”. While this is a fun song for children to listen to and sing, they need to understand that life is not like this. Children, as well as adults, have responsibilities they need to own up to. However, another lesson in this song would be to teach children that when bad things happen, it is not the end of the world, and they can move past the issue and still feel happy.