So last night my church hosted a movie night for the elementary school kids. As a small group leader of some rising fifth graders, I attended with my fifth grader. The movie they showed as you probably have figured out by now was Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson. This 1960 film is based loosely on the 1812 book Der Schweizerische Robinson(literally, The Swiss Robinson) by Johann David Wyss.
In the film adaptation, the family is shipwrecked during a storm after being chased by pirates. They build an elaborate tree house out of parts from the ship and include inventions such as a waterwheel to provide some “modern” (for 1812) conveniences. The story is a fun family tale of learning self-reliance and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. **spoiler alert** at the end of the movie, the entire family except for one son who is off to university decide to stay on the island, which is now a new colony.
Stories about being shipwrecked or otherwise marooned often provide a teachable moment about the benefits of slowing down and enjoying a slower pace without the stress of our otherwise crazy busy lives. When we are removed from our busy schedules, we often find we enjoy ourselves more even in the absence of those things we think we can’t possibly live without.
I’m not quite ready to move to an island and live in a tree house, but we can still learn from these stories about valuing the simple things in life and limiting the stuff that we think we need/want but that adds stress to our lives. A friend from work recently told me about her husband’s brother and his wife’s house. The brother is a surgeon and he and his wife have an 8,000 square foot house for themselves and their 6 cats. The wife has spent her days buying furniture for the huge house and clothes to fill her humongous closet. It stresses me out just thinking about it. They are living a lifestyle that will require the husband to work for a long time to maintain and that will require a great deal of work to take care of. Just keeping a place that size clean, grass cut, pool serviced etc. will take a lot of hours each week even if you hire people to do it for you.
I prefer a simpler life.by Rich