***SPOILERS ABOUT THE MOVIE TROLLS BELOW***
This weekend I took my kids to see the new Trolls movie without knowing much about the plot other than singing and dancing trolls would be involved and the perfection of Justin Timberlake's comedic timing. I left the movie feeling incredibly grateful and inspired by a very cute and fun movie with a well-timed and meaningful lesson.
Happiness is inside all of us.
Isn't that beautiful? The lesson is demonstrated to us through the Bergens (the villains of the movie) and the Trolls. Trolls are happy and enjoy singing, dancing, and hugging every half hour. Bergen are miserable creatures who only experience happiness through the consumption of trolls on a special holiday each year called Trollstice. What I loved about this movie is when Poppy, voiced by the amazing Anna Kendrick, teaches the Bergen that they all have the potential for joy within them, and they don't need to eat trolls to experience it. That's a pretty powerful lesson, you don't have to eat someone else to be happy. That has implications for animal ethics, for eating disorders (you don't need to eat your feelings), and for those who feel they just don't have the potential for happiness. I relate to all three issues, so this movie was a big win for me. Plus the soundtrack is AWESOME and my kids have been grooving to it nonstop.
So, obviously, I though of Thanksgiving. Here we have this holiday that is culturally offensive in so many ways to Native Americans- for one, but then also claims to be about giving thanks and gratitude, and yet it symbolized by cartoons of turkeys- and laughter about these plucky guys being the main dish. Many people, rather than calling it Thanksgiving, simply call it turkey day.
Well, troll that I am, I'd like to remind you that you do not need to consume another living being to feel thankful, to experience gratitude, or to enjoy time with family. It's within you already. In fact, one might argue (like this happy troll right here) that it is completely contradictory that we "celebrate thankfulness" by killing and eating our fellow beings. That the very symbol of our gratitude is a dead bird.
I feel like Trolls did that, in fact. I hope that other families and children maybe make these connections too, as two major American holidays approach that tend to center around dead animals. From the mouths of joyful and innocent trolls and babes, let us all remember;
You don't have to eat someone else just to feel happiness. Happiness is inside us all.
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
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