The special needs boy I work with has been asking for weeks to go to the new movie The Croods.
So last week I took him.
The movie centers on a “typical” Stone Age family trying to survive in a dangerous world. There’s a mother, a father, a daughter, a son, a baby, and even a cantankerous mother-in-law.
The patriarch of the family, Grug, is forever worrying about the safety of his family. He pounds into their heads mantras like “never not be afraid” and “new is bad” to avoid their getting too curious, and as a result, being killed.
At one point, when the daughter brings home a conch shell and blows it, her family gets spooked and beats the shell into a thousand pieces.
What’s funny is, this isn’t too far off from the state of mind of many people today.
Many haven’t evolved beyond being afraid of change, being afraid of things that they don’t understand, being afraid of things that are different. And it controls their lives.
They live in fear of change, in fear of the unseen, and you can see it in their manner: always uptight, probably not having much fun.
New is a threat to the limited way they see the world, and so they will do whatever it takes to avoid it — even if it means running to their caves whenever they perceive any sort of danger.
And that perpetual focus on what they are afraid of attracts, ironically, the very things they don’t want.
But if we only live with what we understand we would never experience anything new we would never be excited we’ve never be truly filled with joy and wonder at the universe.
Even the Crood family discovers this — that they have to open up to the world and be willing to take risks in order to truly experience the delight of being alive.
By the end of the movie, even Grug changes his tune. At the climax, as Grug is about to throw his daughter over a widening abyss to safety, his mantra shifts suddenly to “never be afraid.”
And if a literal caveman can evolve and allow himself to open up to all the wonders the world has to offer — I’m certain we all can too.