3 Underrated Life Lessons from ‘Home Alone’

When it comes to my top 10 Christmas movies, it’s tough not to include ‘Home Alone’. From John William’s score to Kevin’s elaborate booby-traps, it’s no wonder the film has long been heralded a Christmas classic.

Yet, while it’s easy to remember Macaulay Culkin’s signature scream and home security alarm system1, it’s also worth noting the movie’s moral fiber laced among its memorable moments.

Thus, in the spirit of going behind the scenes1, here are three underrated life lessons inspired by ‘Home Alone’…

1. Don’t believe everything you hear

Imagine being a falsely labeled murderer for over three decades, estranged from family, frozen in accusation. Hard to relate, right? Unfortunately, for ol’ man Marley, his reputation had fermented such stains. Once an innocent family man, now a salty, suspicious loner with a checkered past.

Yet, for Kevin, who like any impressionable youngster buys the gossip initially, his fear ultimately fades when confronted by Marley at a local church service.

Posed with tangible truth, Kevin not only accepts his misunderstanding, but ‘captains’ the conversation into two of the movie’s driving themes:

  • Togetherness is a vital ingredient to family life.
  • Never judge a book by its cover.

By exchange’s end, Kevin reminds us not only to weigh our judging impulses, but how doing so can build unexpected bridges with people we never imagined.

2. Reconcile your differences

As an adult, it’s interesting to observe movies you frequented as a kid. For instance, with ‘Home Alone’, it’s appalling how much word cursing and finger pointing occurs within the first five minutes.

Megan McCallister: Kevin, you’re completely helpless!

Linnie McCallister: You know, Kevin, you’re what the French call les incompetents.

Jeff McCallister: Kevin, you are *such* a *disease*!

Frank McCallister: Look what you *did*, you little *jerk*.

Buzz McCallister: I wouldn’t let you sleep in my room if you were growing on my [butt].

I mean…if I had family like that, I probably would want them to disappear too. No wonder my parents started the movie after these scenes!

Of course, as we eventually find, Kevin, not realizing he’d been inadvertently abandoned, learns to value what his parents provided him while Kevin’s parents learn to press through guilt into doing whatever possible to get home.

By the finale, not only do we see Kevin’s rejuvenated appreciation of family, but Kevin’s family realizing the type of person they’d been abandoning long before leaving for Paris.

Granted, it would have been ideal had humility and forgiveness being more directly exchanged. Yet, in the world of cinema, beggars can’t be choosers so we learn to live with backhand affirmation (Buzz: “Hey, Kev. It’s pretty cool that you didn’t burn the place down.”), hugs speaking for themselves, and a mother’s ‘sorry’ covering for the entire family2.

3. Don’t just conquer your fear, stay ahead of it

Remember the scene when Kevin goes down to the basement and encounters the furnace (apparently voiced by Sauron)?

Upon further review, Kevin does right in downgrading his foreboding to imagination, but as we later see, once the furnace opens, it’s game over.

Fast-forward twenty minutes and we find Kevin, having since conquered a pestering clerk, a stereotypical police officer, and a klutzy pizza delivery man, revisiting the furnace, flexing his new found confidence (see 1:18-1:27 in the clip below).

Yet, while Kevin is able to ‘defeat’ the furnace,  he knows to beat the wet bandits, he must not only brace his fear, but embrace it by tackling each hurdle in stride as evidenced by my favorite scene in the movie…

Thus, as Kevin reminds us, if we want to better confront our challenges, we need to anticipate and see ourselves rising above them. Only then can we stand strong, hold our ground, and defend the faith as we were made to.

Bonus: Be careful what you wish for.

As a kid, this line constantly sailed over my head…

…but now as a married father of two, I get the joke.

Obviously, Kevin is too young to understand the full contrast between independence and relationship, especially in a family where neither is modeled well; however, for older viewers like us, his tantrum3 can remind us to be careful what we say, what we wish for, and how we interpret hidden cries for help.

In Kevin’s case, not only did he feel left out, but ridiculed and scorned when attention was given (hence his level of frustration; see word curses above). Yet, while his comments on the surface seem to indicate a craving for solitude, his ‘when I get married‘ slip up clearly confirms a much deeper-seeded desire for meaningful/functional connection.

As for us, let’s learn from Kevin by making sure we don’t defer our hope in the face of disappointment while keeping a steady ear, eye, and hand out for those in similar struggles4.


  1. In more ways than one
  2. Though quick side note: while Kevin’s parents lived their ownership, as we’ve talked about here on His Girl Fryday, full reconciliation of relational soul/spirit hurts can only occur if repentance is confessed
  3. Shout out to Joe Pesci whose reaction makes this scene)
  4. Which interestingly Kevin does with old man Marley during the church scene

Bible Verses

  1. 2 Timothy 1:7
  2. Romans 8:37
  3. Psalm 23:4
  4. Isaiah 41:13
  5. Deuteronomy 31:6
  6. Psalm 27:1; 34:4
  7. Psalm 115:11
  8. 1 Peter 3:13-14
  9. 1 Corinthians 16:13
  10. Proverbs 13:12

Photo cover: Film & TV Now

The Season of Perpetual Hope

‘Tis the season to be jolly…

…or so we’re told this time of year.

But let’s be honest: how many of us feel remotely close to Yuletide bliss?

I know for me…as the fall sun sets into what should be the happiest season of all, the stress of it not being so sets in as well.

What if December is blue, not white. What if this and that are not right.

I’m sure I speak for many when I say the anxiety can be overwhelming.

And yet, as valid as our tensions may be…as easy as it is to yield to negativity and strive for positivity, it’s worth noting we were made for the other way around.

But Cam…how do I get there? 

Well, that’s why I writing this.

‘Cause truth is: this Advent season can feature some of the roughest crossroads of the year. For instance, what do you do when you want to sing joy to the world, but feel too ‘Charlie Brown’ to care? Or what do you do when Christmas is coming on too fast for one limping among shattered dreams and broken goals on way to another yearly finish line?

To help answer these questions, I want to cut away to one my favorite Christmas movies: Home Alone.

Remember the scene when Kevin’s mom is desperately pleading with the Scranton ticket agent?

And I don’t care if I have to get out on your runway and hitchhike! If it costs me everything I own, if I have to sell my soul to the devil himself, I am going to get home to my son.”

Well, it just so happens prior to her ‘Momma Bear’ unleashing, she leaks out one of the most profound definitions of Christmas in cinematic history.

This is *Christmas*! The season of perpetual1 hope!

Now it’s worth pointing out a couple things:

  1. Kate McCallister, like many of us this time of year, is tired, frustrated, yet determined…knowing what she wants but unsure how to get there.
  2. Kate admits a profound truth as a means to justify a personal end (i.e. getting home to her son’)…as opposed to letting that means be the end she needed to persevere.
  3. Kate’s response reminds us of the potentially beautiful relationship between resolve and desperation (Note I say ‘potentially’ since unguarded desperation can mislead our resolve away from what we believe).

In short, Kate had the awareness of what was right: Christmas is the season of perpetual hope2; however, in her frantic state, she lacked the application of what was right as the only thing she wanted perpetual was herself.

Yet, while Kate could have saved herself some stress, we can learn from her mistake by discovering what the Word says about  ‘perpetual hope’. ‘Cause when we talk ‘perpetual’, we’re not only talking about the immutability of God – the reality of an unchanging God timeless in nature, but also the quality of hope we internally long for.

Ask yourself this: why do so many nations celebrate the secular symbol of Santa Clause…or represent their holiday spirit with illumination? Is it not as Bryan Bedford stated from “Miracle on 34th Street”, “to create in their minds a world far better than the one we’ve made…”?

If yes, then I submit we’re not only hard-wired with an innate drive to hope in something, but to hope in something perpetual. Granted, it’s easy this time of year to put foot to gas…hoping to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’…hoping to feel good about ourselves…hoping enough satisfaction can be derived from momentum…as opposed to resting in our perpetual Provider; however, if you’re sitting there worried the joy of Christmas has to be earned or is going to take off without you…I have good news for you:

You don’t have to carry the load anymore!

Rather you can relinquish fear, release control, and receive a fresh hope centered in the always abiding, ever enduring love of the begotten. After all, that’s what Christmas is all about: remembering the “light of the World” who came not only to make a way, but a perpetual way (Isaiah 43:16)…even when we feel no one can reach us3.

Thus, if anyone needs some perpetual hope this Christmas, consider it’s always been Jesus…

…God from God…

…Light from Light…

…Strength of Strength…

…Hope of [Perpetual] Hope…

…breaking through the darkest of nights to save…




  1. Perpetual = Never ending/changing, everlasting; occurring repeatedly
  2. Honestly, how many people around her could have come up with a better summary of Christmas in six words or less, especially under those circumstances
  3. Desperation Band – “Make a Way