Brave – Mothers, Daughters, and Mutual Love

Thematic Reflection

Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Pocahontas’ mothers are dead. Aurora is essentially an orphan, though her three fairy caretakers do their best to raise her well. Mother Gothel isn’t really Rapunzel’s mother, but she pretends to be so she can live off her magic hair. (They have issues.) Mulan and Tiana’s mothers are at least present even if their fathers’ presence or lack thereof seems to have a stronger impact on their lives.

Merida has a mother, Queen Elinor, and their tempestuous relationship is at the center of Brave‘s story. That Brave explores the mother/daughter dynamic makes it remarkably different than every other Disney princess movie that has come before. The ways in which Brave explores and develops this relationship make it more affirming and respectful of women and their importance and value to society than almost anything I’ve ever seen in a theater.Read more in Elijah Davidson’s original review of Brave.

Key Scenes

Clip 1

Clip 2

Discussion Questions

For Adults

Watch Clip 1, and read Psalm 127:3-5 and Proverbs 15:5, 20.

1) For those with children, do you see them as a blessing or a curse in your life?
2) For those without children, do you see them as a blessing or curse in others’ lives?
3) As a child, did you embrace or reject your parents’ guidance? Why or why not?

Watch Clip 2, and read Ephesians 3:14-21.

1) In what way (if any) does your family reflect the name of God?
2) Is your biological family “rooted in love?” What would it take to mend what is torn?
3) Is your faith-community “rooted in love?” What would it take to mend what is torn?

For Families

Watch Clip 1, and read Psalm 127:3-5 and Proverbs 15:5, 20.

1) For children, do you feel your parents treat you as a gift from the Lord? Why or why not?
2) For parents, do you feel your children embrace or despise your instruction? Why or why not?
3) In our family, what is the core source of conflict between parents and children?

Watch Clip 2, and read Ephesians 3:14-21.

1) What does it mean that our family is “named” from the Father?
2) Is our family “rooted in love? Why or why not?
3) What would it take to mend what is torn?

For Students

Watch Clip 1, and read Psalm 127:3-5 and Proverbs 15:5, 20.

1) Do you feel your parents treat you as a gift from the Lord? Why or why not?
2) Do you embrace or despise your parents’ instruction? Why or why not?
3) In your family, what is the core source of conflict between parents and children?

Watch Clip 2, and read Ephesians 3:14-21.

1) What does it mean that a family is “named” from the Father?
2) What other kinds of “families” are you a part of besides your biological family?
3) Is your family “rooted in love? Why or why not?  What would it take to mend what is torn?

For Children

Watch Clip 1, and read Psalm 127:3-5 and Proverbs 15:5, 20.

1) Why is Merida so upset with her mom? What does she want her Mom to realize?
2) Why is Elinor so upset with her daughter? What does she want her daughter to realize?
3) Do you learn things from your parents? What?

Watch Clip 2, and read Ephesians 3:14-21.

1) What has Merida done to her family? Have you ever done something similar?
2) How can she help fix what she has torn?
3) How do you show your family members love after they have made mistakes?

Related Scriptures

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
    are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
    He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

(Psalm 127:3-5)

Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline;
     whoever learns from correction is wise.

Sensible children bring joy to their father;
     foolish children despise their mother.

(Proverbs 15:5, 20)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on the earth is named. I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:14-21)

More Resources for Further Reflection and Discussion

Family