How Good Stories Bring Families Together

How Good Stories Bring Families Together

Melissa Gosselin

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Now, I’m sure I’m not the only one who's been OBSESSING over the movie Encanto. I’ve seen it twice already and I've been recommending it to everyone I know (not to mention singing the songs in the shower and around my house). The movie is set in rural Colombia and, as I’ve said in other posts, I used to live in Bogotá. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling around Colombia — from the coffee region to the coast. One of my favourite places is the town of Salento near Valle de Cocora, the home of the 200 foot wax palms that frame the Madrigal house in the movie. Everything about Encanto made me nostalgic  from Carlos Vives’s theme song to the food references (ajiaco and arepas!). 

Photo by Clarissa Bock on Unsplash

Photo © Walt Disney Studios or related entities. Used for publicity and promotional purposes.


So today I thought I would explore the different ways that music and stories bring families together. 

One of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever witnessed happened while I was visiting a friend  let’s call her Sara. Sara’s husband was trying to wake their three-year-old daughter from a nap by playing Moana songs in the kitchen (at a high enough volume that she could hear it from her bedroom). Eventually Sara's daughter appeared in the doorway, looking like a little doll. She rubbed her eyes, lifted her arms up towards her dad in surrender as if to say, “OOOO-K, Dad, I’m awake, let’s dance,” and a kitchen party ensued. Even Sara joined in. I had the pleasure of witnessing it all as I held Sara’s 5 month-old in my arms. I love how music in family films invites participation from all ages. It can bring together older and younger siblings, or just create moments of joy for adults and children alike.  

Another thing I love about movies is that they create a frame . . . a new world, a reference point for emotional conversations. Have you ever felt like Moana? Like Mirabel from Encanto? How did this scene make you feel? Which characters did you relate to the most? I'm often surprised by what kids notice in a film. Sometimes there are emotions and situations they recognize but just never had language to express before. 

Most of all, I just love acting out movie scenes with kids  I adore musical theatre so it’s so wonderful for me to be able to share these moments with them. I love seeing posts on my social media feeds of kids singing "We Don't Talk About Bruno" word for word. Encanto is, for me, an example of how good storytelling is transcendent — it has the power to connect people from all ages and from all different cultural backgrounds.

Do you have any movies that brought you closer to your family — to your kids, your nieces or nephews? Let me know in the comments below! Also, what did you think of Encanto?

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