Three Unexpected Things the One Direction Movie Teaches
I won't let these little things slip out of my mouth But if it's true It's you, It's you they add up to I'm in love with you And all your little things...
The girls in the movie theater seemed to know every line to this One Direction song, and, if I was being particularly candid, I liked the song too.
We had a rainy holiday weekend and the entire family was itching to get out and still stay low-key. For us, that meant catching a movie. Although Billy and I were angling for a repeat of Despicable Me 2, we couldn't get the kids to agree.
Off we went to see the One Direction: This Is Us flick. As band films go, I have no complaints about this tale of five X-Factor rejects whom Simon Cowell cast as the next greatest teen sensation. In fact, as a story, I found their rags-to-riches journey (or, more precisely, anonymity to world-wide recognition) remarkably, well, remarkable.
However, what captured my imagination wasn't the unprecedented speed of success, or the crush of the subsequent fame (both are mind-boggling), but a few of the simple, more basic lessons from their stories.
Whether you've seen the movie or not, these truths still apply.
1. Kids Will Be Gone Before You're Ready
In 2010 each guy in One Direction left their home for London to audition for the British version of the X-Factor. They finished third, but their song was a hit in social media circles, and they were swept away by the crowd. It was two years before they came home to see their respective families.
In the film, Liam's dad, Geoff. says, "It’s not just the mums, it’s the dads that struggle, too. I mean, I can’t offer him much, I could take him out for a drink or play some pool. But he’s the only lad in the family and I’ll never get this time back; he’s gone. And I can’t give him advice because he has seen more of the world than me." (emphasis mine)
Sure, these parents had little warning how different life would be, but how much time do any of us have really? When I watched this film, I couldn't help but remember what my friend Sandra says about raising kids, " The days feel long, but the years are short."
2. Community Sustains
When you see five boys cast into a hailstorm of craziness, the only possible way to survive is to cling together. This group feels "safe," for the moment, because they appear to recognize their mutual dependence. They constantly repeat their gratitude for not having to be individual artists weathering the performance pressure.
I left the film hoping, for their sake, no one in the group turns on any of the others.
I also left recognizing an overwhelming truth: We are not supposed to do life alone. We are meant to live in community.
3. Worship is in Everyone
Wherever you go in the world, people love to elevate others. Whether it's a sports figure, a musician, a celebrity, or a personal friend, our nature is to adore and revere something. We are hardwired to worship. Most of us know celebrities aren't worthy of our adoration, but money, power, influence all creep into our revery. Are we conscious enough to direct our attention to something more worthy?
Who is worthy of our awe? The film certainly doesn't give the answer, but it makes the question obvious.
(For me, God is the only answer. You may believe something different, but considering the question is the point.)
This film was surprisingly poignant, and I appreciate the life reminders -- even when I'm not listening to "the best song ever..."