Mama Bear and Brave -- A Post for Every Mother and Daughter

It's been a while since a cartoon moved me to tears, but Brave, Disney's new release by Pixar, did just that.

An enchanting story about the wonderful, sometimes awful, always complex relationship between a mother and daughter, Brave begins with a curly-haired redhead sitting at her mother's knee learning the basics of life as a princess. Along with the decidedly manly pursuits of archery and horseback riding allowed by her father, Merida learns the dress, decorum, and skills necessary to one day rule a kingdom.

And like many modern-day princesses, she chafes at her mother's tutelage and chooses instead to go her own way. She rejects her mother's vision for her life and casts off the perceived shackles that come with living out the destiny of a king's daughter.

Through an exciting series of events, Merida realizes the value of her mother's traditions, while Elinor, her mother, realizes that her daughter should have the freedom to choose her own future. Perhaps it's ok, she concedes, for her daughter to be a bow-toting, horse-riding princess. Maybe it's not just ok, she acknowleges,  but even good for a young adult to choose her own recreation, profession, and spouse.

The movie is a thought-provoking, sensitive encouragement to mothers and daughters to respect and embrace each other's differences.

But what's a parent to do when her child rejects the faith of her parents in her quest to make her own way in the world? Pixar doesn't examine the spiritual side of destiny and calling, but the parallels are there.

In order to respect our children's independence, must we concede our children's right to choose a path that travels away from God? Must we allow them to cast faith by the wayside like so many traditions in their quest for independence and self-government?

I say no.

While most Christian parents acknowledge their young adult children's right to choose their own professions, spouses, and recreation, we do not have to stand idly by and watch our children fling the faith of their fathers to the wind. Unlike the myriad of possibilities for a  major, a profession, or a job, all of which can be subject to the individual interests and inclinations of our children, there is only one viable option for our children's spiritual lives.


"I am the way, the truth, and the life," states Christ, "no one comes to the Father except through me."

"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them,  I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed." (Deuteronomy 30:15-18).

Without spoiling the ending for those who haven't watched it yet, one of the most intense and poignant scenes of the movie comes when Elinor, Merida's mother, fights a raging, maniac bear that  threatens to rip her precious daughter to shreds. As the bear looms over Merida with its teeth bared and its jaws dripping, Elinor springs to her rescue as only a mama bear can do.

It is a life or death battle that the mama bear fights with every ounce of strength she has. There is no other option.

A great and terrible battle wages for our children. Instead of a grizzly bear trying to sink its teeth into their tender throats, the enemy wants to destroy their souls. He will not rest until he has devoured our sons and daughters, and it's up to us, Mama and Papa bears, to vanquish him.

We must do battle for the hearts and lives of our children.

We must fight with every ounce of spiritual strength we possess.

We must win this battle of all battles.

There is no other option.

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).

"Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Will you join me in doing battle for the hearts and lives of our children? I invite you to stand with me as I wrestle in prayer before God like Jacob, who stated, "I will not let you go until you bless me!"

May God in his mercy grant to each one of us the lives and souls of our children.

Womanhood With Purpose

This post is a Reader's Choice post on Angie's blog, Womanhood with Purpose.

It was also featured on Jacqueline's lovely blog, Deep Roots at Home.

 Did you know that Lori has a new devotional book, Joy in the Journey - Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms?

With a devotion for every day of the week, Joy in the Journey also contains application questions, an action step, and a prayer. It's suitable for your personal devotions or for use by your support group for meeting topic ideas.

To read more about Joy in the Journey and what other homeschooling moms are saying about it, click here.

To order a paperback copy, click here.

Back to School Special Ebook - $1.99 (Click the link in the sidebar.)

To read other posts on homeschooling:

To read the post "Homeschooling--Choosing the road less traveled," Click Here.
To read the post "Homeschooling--When you've lost your joy," Click Here.
To read the post "Homeschooling and God's mercy--When you feel like a failure," Click Here.

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  1. Hi Lori, Excellent post. I've decided to go to this movie with my daughter, a highschool senior, as a mom and daughter get away. I pray that we will have time to talk about the spiritual application of the movie as well as make a memory to last a lifetime. Thanks for your insight.

  2. Melanie,

    I pray your time together, like many of those "lasts," will also be "firsts" as you enter this poignant stage of life. When you have a box of Kleenex nearby and need some perspective, you might want to read "Baby Turtles and Baby Girls ~ thoughts on sending a child off to college"
    and "Going with God."
    thanks for stopping by :)

  3. I can't wait to see this movie. Great thoughts.
    We try to encourage their freedom in certain areas, but also teach them from an early age that our "no" is given out of love- as in "no, don't touch the hot stove" ... "no, don't rebel against God!"


    1. You're right, Emily, they have to learn to submit to our "nos" so they can handle the freedom of our "yes's." You sound like a very wise momma. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post - what a great review. I love how you could see the spiritual battle even when the modern world ignores it.

    hopping over from Titus 2sday

    1. Marissa,
      It was a treat to watch this movie with my precious daughter and hug her REALLY TIGHTLY when it was over. Very emotional for me. Thanks so much for visiting :)

  5. Hi Lori! Great post!! Thank you so much for linking up to What Works Wednesday. I also wrote a review of the movie Brave and related it to parenting. Here's the link:


  6. Anonymous10:31 AM

    Is it common for children to sway away from their parent's beliefs? Does this happen often? I worry for when my children become teens.

  7. This just underscores the importance of praying for our children. Only God can draw them to Himself...I beg Him daily to do so.

  8. Amen! I was writing about parenting and guiding our children in God's ways too. :) We must be on the same page! blessings, Lauren,

  9. Anonymous11:48 PM

    I agree that it is of the utmost importance that we teach and raise our children up in faith and love of the Lord God; but, just as we all wander and stray with a desperate desire to find our own place in life, so will our children. I look forward to my children questioning and challenging the things I have taught them because I believe that only then will they find a faith and trust in Christ that is truly their own and not merely a "habit" passed on from their parents. I hope and continue to pray that the lessons learned and gifts given by a loving God will take anchor in their hearts so that their questions will only build a stronger foundation for lifelong faith...but just as God gave us freewill so that we could CHOOSE to follow him, I choose to grant that same freedom to my own children.

  10. There isn't anything you can do as a parent if your children decide to leave the faith. That is their decision. You can't force someone to believe.

  11. I like your spiritual emphasis on prayer and the relationship between a mother and daughter.

    Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home Wednesdays this week.

  12. AHHH, yes. BUT, there are other things that this movie portrays that aren't as good...
    The radical feminism. The blatant, "I can do this myself, even if I am a girl!!!" What about being and desireing to be pursued and cared for by the man God places in your life??? What about the dreams we all have about being swept off our feet by Prince Charming???
    There are good things in this movie, as you said. BUT, we need to look at the other parts too. Do we want our girls growing up with the attitude of radical feminism in their minds? Is that how God designed things to be?
    NOTE: I just put this out there as something to think about. Lori, you did a good job captureing the part that you wrote about.
    In Christ - Emily.

    1. I agree, Emily, with all of your points. I was uncomfortable with the anger, disrespect, and disregard for parental input. What I did appreciate, however, was the way the movie showed the hurtful and dangerous consequences of such attitudes and actions. I think it was an equal challenge to parents not to provoke their children to wrath by heavy-handed parenting and for children not to fling their parents' good advice to the wind in a quest for self-government and independence. Like in all relationships, there is a need to stand firm on the absolutes and flex on the negotiables. Thanks so much for commenting, Emily, for sharing your thoughtful and respectfully expressed concerns. Blessings to you!

  13. I haven't seen this yet - now I want to! Thanks for linking up with us at
    Courtship Connection.

  14. Thank you for sharing this, I whole heartily agree!

  15. I actually haven't seen Brave yet which is why I read your post...I love your point about fighting for our kids' faith. Can't wait to see the movie, great post!

  16. Great post! I too cried while watching Brave for the first time. I was over come with a different thought. My daughter will know that I love her, and I what I do comes from loving concern and not out of a desire to control. My words will be encouraging and not an endless rant of commands. I know we will grow apart as she gets older, but I hope to keep the lines of commutation open so that she won't have to "mend the bond, torn by pride".

  17. Lori,
    This is very close in nature to something I am exploring in a post as of last night. Funny how this confirms many of my thoughts. It is excellent, and I would like to feature it tomorrow on the 'EOA' Wednesday link-up! Tahnk you for sharing it over at Deep Roots At Home. Blessings!

  18. I haven't seen the movie, Lori. But sounds like you "harvested" some great principles and analogies from it. Congrats on being featured for this post on several blogs.

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