One of my favorite things to do when my children were little happened because the VHS was invented. In my childhood, we had to wait a whole year for “The Wizard of Oz”, or “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown”. There was no OWNING movies!!! We had to wait and wait and  wait. I rented the above movie, “Mosquito Coast”, from the Orem, Utah library in the 1990’s. We watched it as a family and I would stop it every once in a while and we would talk about what we had just watched. We talked about Harrison Ford’s  brilliance and his  pride and ego. We talked about what it would feel like to leave everything that was safe and familiar to go and live on an island jungle. This movie especially shows when ego turns to  danger and destruction. Ultimately, Harrison Ford’s  character destroys his family’s safety with his pride. He wasn’t honest or responsible.  We have dramatic examples of character in the scriptures and I like to supplement that with movies that teach character strengths and weaknesses. Take pauses in the movie so  you can ask your child,

  • How would you feel leaving everything you are familiar with behind like the family in the movie did?
  • What do you think the father’s motive was in leaving America?
  • When did the father’s pride become destructive?


I saw the movie,  “Founder” earlier this year and thought it was a perfect Character Strengths and Weaknesses Movie. Again, this movie shows a big ego and integrity issues with broken contracts and a man who is determined to have what he wants no matter who is in his way. I also LOVED the retro appeal of the 50’s. That was a really fun part of the movie.


Afterwards and during familywork, more good questions could be,

When did Ray Kroc cross the line with the McDonald Brothers?

What did you think of his wife, and what was his responsibility to her?

Was Ray Kroc optimistic? Hardworking? Or just greedy?

Do you think the ends justify the means? What that means is sometimes  for companies to get bigger and become more of a success, they can’t have total honesty about it?

Does knowing the history of the beginning of McDonald’s make you want to eat there or not?

What if he had never come across that first MacDonald’s restaurant? Do you think he would still be a shake machine salesman?

How do you feel about the MacDonald brothers? Where they too trusting? Can you be too trusting?

Another day you can show your children “Supersize Me”. The other end of the long road of MacDonald’s:

More good discussions on fast food, what happens when we eat too much, and why would this man make this movie.

I want our time watching screens together to mean something. Now that we can “own” movies, or at least the devices that stream them, we can use them as a teaching tool and teach all of those good old-fashioned  character strengths.

After we had watched “Mosquito Coast” together back in the day,  my daughter said she watched it with her best friend and tried to stop and explain it as we had. She said, “It wasn’t the same Mom!”

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