[Media Literacy] Lightyear: A Family Watch Guide

Setting the stage for family movie nights can help in nurturing young people to be active consumers of media text. 

In the spirit of reading deeply, providing young viewers with an opportunity to reflect and share prior knowledge can nurture their skills as critical thinkers and effective communicators 

As it pertains to Lightyear and the Toy Story world, there is a rich opportunity to navigate conversations about leadership and the call to be a self-reflective life long learner.

Prior to watching the movie, discuss what leadership means.

Suggested starting points:

  • What does leadership mean to you?
  • What makes a person an effective leader?
  • What leaders to you look up to and why? 

Watch the following video of Kid President, together as a family. In this video Kid President explores what makes a great leader by connecting with young leaders.

As you watch the movie, quietly reflect on the characteristics noted in Kid President video (above). The goal is to actively watch so that you can shape a post-movie conversation with your family.

Some key ideas to reflect on:

Throughout the film, Buzz is burdened by the very notion of being a leader. Like in the original Toy Story (1995), Buzz is preoccupied with taking action. As a result, his ability to lead is often ineffective and narrow. This is evident in the the opening sequence of Lightyear, where Buzz’s drive to “do it alone” results in the catastrophe that puts his team in harms way.

If only Buzz combined his desire to engage in action with cooperation all while taking the time to understand and value others. If he had, the events that shape the story may have been altered. Nonetheless, his inability to empower and be humble leads him on a journey of self-discovery; one that forces him to lean into his vulnerability and understand himself fully.

As the film begins, Buzz still has so much to learn. He associates leadership with heroism in the most traditional form. However, leading without actively listening, reflecting and reframing can have considerable consequences.

As the story unfolds, Buzz begins to learn, unlearn and relearn. He grows to understand what leadership truly means and benefits from positive outcomes of empowering others and embracing their skills and mindset. Consequently, he discovers his true self through by actively listening, being responsive, open and accepting. He now understands that leadership is not heroism but a journey of vulnerability where change is constant.

As a family makes connections between Buzz and the characteristics shared by the young people in the Kid President video.

Furthermore, read the following blog from the Disney Institute: What Toy Story Can Teach Us About Leadership and Teamwork to deepen connections between Lighyear and what can be learnt about leadership.

Along with “deep read conversations,” young kids can have some creative fun with the official Lightyear Activity Pack

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