Bonus: Love Helps Us Stand Against the World
Even though How to Train Your Dragon isn't Disney, this animated masterpiece teaches so many good principles, I couldn't pass up the chance to mention it.
Hiccup—it’s a peculiar name to match an equally peculiar boy. To some, his name might suggest he’s a flaw or an unnecessary and awkward inconvenience. Yet it’s only Hiccup’s perspective that has power to change the world as he knows it.
When all of his village chooses to either slaughter dragons or run from them, Hiccup searches for a different solution.
In our world today, many people take the fight or flee approach. When dealing with people and differences, we sometimes tend to think the worst of others. Our initial response is to fight against what we don't understand or to ignore it entirely. We forget that there is another option. We forget that even while Christ was at his pinnacle of pain hanging on the cross, he extended love—not hate or fear—to others. He embraced everyone—saint, sinner, Sadducee, and Samaritan. Of the potential of love, John H. Groberg says:
“When filled with God’s love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us. Jesus Christ was filled with unfathomable love as He endured incomprehensible pain, cruelty, and injustice for us . . . His love knows no barriers” (“The Power of God’s Love,” October 2004).
Image from IMDb
In a Christlike fashion, Hiccup's peculiar compassion compels him to try to understand his enemies even after they’ve taken so much from him. Because of this, he becomes the first to soar above the clouds and find the light and hope of a higher perspective. Indeed, the description found in 1 Peter 2:9 seems to fit Hiccup perfectly:
“But ye are a chosen generation . . . a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Hiccup's example teaches us how to find the courage not to fight, but to love. He teaches us how to stay in touch with the celestial and soar to greater heights. He teaches us how the be "in the world, but not of the world." And he teaches us what it truly means to be peculiar.