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For parents of young kids, teaching about adversity can feel a bit complicated. We want our children to learn how to overcome obstacles while remaining confident and optimistic. But, from a parent’s point of view, it’s hard to see our babies (of any age) encounter challenges.
There is one very welcome solution: Use a fun example as a springboard to talking about adversity—like with Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, a family-friendly movie in theaters this summer.
In Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, the protagonists truly have the odds stacked against them. Faced with the challenge of saving a community of cats from a would-be conqueror, outcast dog Hank must channel his bravery. Not to mention he also has to learn how to cooperate with cats, his lifelong rivals. Now, that’s adversity!
Perhaps the biggest lure of the film is the promise of lots of laughs. Thanks to recognizable voice-acting performances from Mel Brooks, Michael Cera, Ricky Gervais, Samuel L. Jackson and more legends, there are jokes that will delight all ages. As Hank assumes the role of town samurai and teams up with the villagers to defeat the threat, the stakes are high—but also perfectly family-friendly.
Then, after the credits roll, the conversation about dealing with adversity can begin. Research backs up the value of having these kinds of talks with your kids, too. According to one large study, highly resilient people are driven by a sense of purpose, look for silver linings and draw strength from the personal connections in their life.
There are examples of all of those positive traits in action in Paws of Fury, such as when Hank develops an unexpected bond with the cats in the community and pushes himself to persevere through his rigorous samurai training sessions.
But, as Paws of Fury also shows, learning about adversity doesn’t have to be a heavy prospect. By launching into the conversation with a lighter tone, it is possible to impart some legitimate life lessons about resilience, optimism, responsibility and emotional intelligence—while laughing about the trials and tribulations that Hank had to overcome along his way. Although we may never be in a situation quite like Hank’s, the themes of bravery, friendship and determination are universally applicable.
After catching Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank in theaters starting July 15, use these prompts to continue the conversation about adversity with your kids…
What do you think was Hank’s biggest strength?
When Hank felt uncertain about helping, what do you think inspired him to continue?
What would you do in a situation that felt challenging?
What lesson did Hank and the cats learn by the end of the movie?
There’s no need to break out the note cards and get into the definition of adversity. (Unless you really want to!) Rather, by tailoring the talk to your kids' ages and keeping it lighthearted, everyone can learn something valuable from Paws of Fury—while also having a great time watching the movie.
Get your tickets to Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank only in theaters starting July 15, 2022.