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.

Footnotes

  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

3 Ways to Overcome Loneliness

Have you ever felt ‘home’ locationally yet far from it relationally…

…secure in the journey, but perhaps insecure in community?

No question, it’s an awkward emotional dichotomy…to feel in love where you’re at yet estranged at the same time.

Perhaps you’ve wondered what do when you feel like you’re not connecting or what to do when you feel God isn’t honoring your obedience with the right relationships.

If that’s you, then heed my words…

…’cause truth is: I’ve been there…

…and in some ways, I’m still there.

And I’m sure for many of you reading this…you can say the same.

With that said, here are three ways to rightfully cope with the contradiction.

1)      Live and breathe God’s wholeness. 

No doubt, God is enough. The question is: do you honestly believe it?

Consider Jeremiah…a prophet whose calling meant to be alone, as evidenced by his directive not to marry, go to weddings or funerals, be in the presence of feasters and merrymakers, etc.

When we study Jeremiah’s narrative, it shouldn’t surprise us to find him often discouraged and depressed. After all, Jeremiah was entirely human…and to be without friends is one of life’s greatest challenges. But though Jeremiah carried certain “love deficits”, this didn’t keep him from finding satisfaction in God, as noted by his tendency to open prayer with “sovereign Lord” and conclude it with a reference to His steadfast love and/or power. Though Jeremiah lived without companionship, God was able to use his singleness and isolation to fulfill His purposes1 through him in ways that couldn’t have happened had he shared dependence.

1352897081As for us, there may be seasons when God temporarily detaches us to cultivate greater dependence on Him, as He did with Jeremiah. But while these seasons may be arduous, we can still find contentment in knowing God always has our best in mind and always sees the beginning from the end.

Hence, it makes perfect sense to receive God’s wholeness since it not only helps us cope with our deficiencies, but provides spiritual nourishment to keep going…all the while, renewing our trust in His providence.

2)      Pray the Word over your location. 

Let’s be honest: It’s easier to pray for people you know than those you don’t, right?

…especially considering we live in a compartmentalized culture where our concept of the world is essentially our concept of ‘our world’.

However, let’s say God repositions you in a foreign place or season. Would the change be enough to diminish your prayer life or would you stay persistent regardless?

While prayer can certainly benefit from sound company, truth is: the tempo of our prayer life should not be dictated by our social life2 or lack thereof.

Why? ‘Cause at the end of the day, it’s God who orchestrates our connectedness!

Thus, if we’re feeling dissatisfied or desolate, we should feel compelled to turn to God without hesitation and seek his direction, considering if anything is in the way, it’s likely a stronghold of man.

So next time you find yourself disappointed by the hardness of your heart and/or surroundings, pray the Word over your location…and choose to make intercession your default as opposed to withdrawal.

Again, it may not be easy, but you can, at least, bank on finding fuel even when you’re running on empty.

3)      Focus on opportunities to serve.

As mentioned before, we all want to belong…and find our place.

However, though the desire itself makes sense, the problem is often how and where it’s prioritized.

For instance, if the desire is overly prioritized, then we risk engaging community as a means to an end, where on the flip side, if the desire is not prioritized enough, we risk relationship being a nonchalant concept, dependent on chance rather than intention.

But if we truly want to bridge relationships organically, why not focus on opportunities to serve and invite God into the process?

Seriously…it’s not like we have anything to lose yielding to the Spirit’s leading.

And if you think you got to have friends before you can find your “place,” consider how God prepared the way in Scripture time and time again (i.e. God frequently prepped the territory before tending the inhabitants; see Deuteronomy 1-16, John 14:3).

In short, when it comes to seeking connection, the best approach is to let God be God by consecrating our relationships (present and future; real and hopeful), staying rooted in prayer, and seeking His desire to plant us in the best place possible…in the best way possible.

Footnotes

1) To fulfill his purpose, it was essential Jeremiah relied entirely on God, considering he may have a) integrated a fear of man into his prophecies or b) fallen away completely had he placed his own needs above God’s wants.

2) Or how we feel our social life is

Photo credits: https://blog.febc.org
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