Tuesday, October 18, 2011

lessons from a dolphin

I've always loved animals, and I'm fascinated by the fact that most other people do too.  My students LOVE our animal unit as well as any time we get to see what kind of unique animals live in the countries we study.  What is it about animals that draws us to them so much?  I believe it's partly because we see ourselves in them, and it's often the best parts of ourselves that we find in them: beauty, love, innocence.  This weekend my husband and I went to see Dolphin Tale, and it brought out this idea to me.

In the movie (based on a true story), a shy boy who gets D's & F's in school finds his passion for learning and learns how to make human friends when he develops a special connection with an injured dolphin that he helps rescue.  All of a sudden, the boy who wouldn't get out of bed or talk about school is rushing out the door in the morning and spouting facts about the animals he encounters at the marine hospital.  What an amazing transformation!  But the really moving part of the story is how the dolphin, Winter, inspires people around the country when its tail is amputated.  I was gushing tears when a mom and her disabled daughter drove 8 hours to see Winter and the little girl, who's missing a leg, says "Mommy, she's just like me!"  At the end of the movie, they show real footage of real people who are missing limbs visiting Winter and getting to swim with her.  It was incredible!

I love the way this story shows how animals can bring out the best in us and even inspire us!  Everyone fell in love with Winter because she was so beautiful, brave, and loving, and all the people in the movie became better from having interacted with her.  Moreover, those disabled people got to feel like they were not broken or alone, but just as brave and wonderful as the dolphin.

We love animals because we see their beauty and when we form a connection with them, it shows us how we are beautiful, powerful, and courageous ourselves.  When we love them, their innocence brings out the kindest, most caring part of us.  If only it didn't take animals to show us this... although I'm glad they're around to do it!


  1. I've been wondering how this movie was. Thanks for sharing. I like that the boy finds his passion and works at school to find the answer. Sometimes that's all the spark a student needs!

  2. Nice that you wrote about this experience. I thought the movie was just a kid movie, so thanks for telling about it. It is a miracle when a student gets hooked. I wish we could find out what that is for every student.

  3. Have your students seen the movie? I'd love to know what kids think about when they watch movies about animals and the transformation they bring to human lives.


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