Inside Out 2: Biblical Worldview Evaluation for Parents and Kids

June 27, 2024

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In this episode, we explore three crucial conversations you can have with your kids after watching Inside Out 2. We aim to equip Christian parents with tools to help their children evaluate the movie's ideas through a biblical lens. Whether you choose to watch the film or not, these discussions will guide you in teaching your children to discern and understand the truth of the biblical worldview. Join us for practical insights and meaningful dialogue.


Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.

Hello friends. On today's podcast, we are going to look at three conversations that you can have with your kids after seeing Inside Out 2. So this is a little bit of a different kind of podcast because normally on the Foundation Worldview podcast we're answering your questions. But what we seek to do here at Foundation Worldview is to give you as Christian adults the skills that you need to get your children to carefully evaluate every idea so they understand the truth of the biblical worldview. And part of these skills of evaluation involve the skills of evaluating the media that we intake. So we're going to dive down deep into Inside Out 2 today.

Now, just as a little bit of a precursor, just want to make sure that it's clear upfront that we are not encouraging you to take your children to see Inside Out 2. That is a personal decision, a decision of conscience. So if you decide not to take your children to see Inside Out 2, hopefully this podcast can just help give you ideas of questions that you can ask your children after you watch different films. For those of you who are choosing to engage with Inside Out 2, the goal is to give you three conversations that you can have with your children after watching the film to help them to carefully evaluate the ideas that they're presented with and to understand the truth of the biblical worldview.

Now, if you choose to engage with this film with your children first recommend that you just start off with a fun debrief of the movie, just some lighthearted questions you can ask your children. Who is your favorite character in this movie and why? There are some really fun characters in this movie. So it will be interesting for you to hear what your child's favorite character was in this movie.

Then you can ask what are some of the scenes that you enjoyed the most? Did any of the scenes make you laugh? Did any of them make you feel sad? Talk through that. And then you can ask, did you feel like you could identify with any of the characters? And so these are just some fun icebreaker questions after you watch the movie.

And then after that, some conversations to go really deep into the movie. I think there are three key conversations that we can have with our children. The first conversation is one about emotions. The second conversation is one about beliefs, and the third conversation is one about truths. So we're going to dive down deep into these three concepts: emotions, beliefs, and truths.

So first, emotions. Now in the movie Inside Out 2, there were several times that certain emotions took complete control of Riley's command center. So a question that you can ask your kids is, do you remember throughout the movie that there were several times when one of the emotions took complete control over Riley's command center? What happened when one of those emotions took complete control and allow your kids to talk through this? Now in the movie, there were two times when an emotion took complete control over the entire command center. First, towards the beginning of the movie, we saw Joy take complete control of the command center. Now, Joy is a very positive, upbeat emotion, one that we should enjoy, but we see in the movie that when Joy took complete control of the command center, Riley was acting very silly. Now, there are some times where it's very appropriate to act silly and to goof around. However, because Joy took complete control, Riley was acting silly at a time when it was not appropriate to act silly. She wasn't paying attention to anything else around her. She was only paying attention to how she was feeling, and because of this, she got everyone else on her team in trouble because she was not paying attention to how it was appropriate to respond in that certain situation. So we saw that when Joy took control of the command center, that Riley acted in a way that did not align with how she should have behaved in that situation.

Then you can talk with your kids about how towards the end of the movie, we saw Anxiety take full and complete control of the command center. There was that time in the movie where Anxiety was just creating a whirlwind around the command center, and when this happened, Riley was fully focused on her fear and she was not considering anyone except for herself. And so therefore, all of the decisions that she was making were out of fear and they were completely selfish. She ended up even physically hurting one of her friends, not on purpose, but because she was just so focused on herself, she bumped into her friend really hard in the hockey game because she was completely self-focused on her anxiety. And so we want to help our kids see that when both this positive upbeat emotion of Joy took over and when this overwhelming emotion that's a little more negative of Anxiety took over both times there were negative consequences.

And so then we can make it personal and we can ask our kids what can happen in our lives if we let our emotions take full control. And so we can talk with our kids through what will happen in these situations, and we want to help them see that when we act according to our feelings rather than considering what is right and good, there are usually negative consequences because usually we are completely focused on ourselves and we're not on others around us.

A great Scripture that we can take our kids to help them evaluate. This is Proverbs chapter 29:11, and that verse says, "A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back." And we can ask our kids, okay, does this verse say that our emotions are bad and that we should never pay attention to our emotions? No, that's not what this verse says. What does this verse say? It says that a wise person quietly holds back rather than giving full vent to his emotions, rather than letting those emotions take over, the wise person recognizes those emotions but is not driven by them. And then to really bring this home, you can share a time with your children when you let your emotions take full control, and then you saw the negative consequences to that. And then you can allow your children to share times when they have let their emotions take full control and there have been negative consequences.

Now, your children might not be able to think of any times like that, or if you have children that are over the age of 10, they might not really want to share those things. But if you just share an example or two from your own life, that will be really powerful in helping your children see a really personal example of how when we let our emotions be the driver, when we let them have full control over us, it usually leads to negative consequences. So that's the first conversation that we can have with our children about emotions.

The second conversation is regarding beliefs. Now in the movie towards the beginning of the movie, Joy says that our beliefs make up our sense of self. And by sense of self, we just mean understanding who we are. So we can ask our kids how did Riley's beliefs about herself affect her sense of self and her actions? And now this might be a more difficult question for our kids to understand, but we can help guide them in this. We can say, okay, when Riley told herself that she was kind, what did she do? She acted kindly. When Riley told herself that she wasn't good enough, what did she do? Well, she acted out of fear and she only focused on herself. So we want to help our kids see how the things that Riley told herself were true about herself, affected what she believed was true and affected the way that she acted. Now, some of the things that Riley told herself about herself in the movie, were not true. If your child brings this up, wonderful, that's great. We can talk with our children about why these beliefs were not true. However, if your child doesn't bring it up yet, that's fine. Just hold on. We're going to get there.

Now to make this conversation about beliefs personal, you can ask your children, what are some beliefs you have about yourself that affect your sense of self and then the way that you act? Now, this might be a really difficult question for children. So what we can do is we can help them think through it by giving examples from our own life so you can share some of the beliefs that you have about yourself and how they impact the way you think and the way that you act. So you can talk about some of the things that you believe that you are good at. You can say, I believe that I am a good cook and I really enjoy cooking, and I cook every night for our family. So my belief about myself being a good cook, that impacts the way that I interact with our family and what I do for our family. You can talk about the people that you love, your spouse, your children, your extended family, and talk about how your belief that you love them impacts the way that you treat them. Then you can go really deep with some biblical truths and talk about your belief that you are an image bearer of God and how that belief impacts how you view yourself, how you treat yourself, and how you treat others. And then you can ask your children, okay, so what are some beliefs that you have about yourself? If they still can't think of any, you can talk about some of the things that they're good at and say, you know what? I think you believe that you're a good soccer player because you practice soccer a lot. Or you can say, I think you believe that you're a good artist because you draw a lot. Just talk about how these beliefs we have about ourselves impact how we think about ourselves and then impact how we act.

Then the third conversation that we want to have with our children is regarding truths. Now, one thing that is never mentioned in this movie and Inside Out 2, is the concept of truth. This is really, I think the film is a really good film and it can be a great one for us to engage with in our kids, but the concept of truth is really a gaping hole in this movie's plot. And so we want to talk with our kids and say, did it matter whether Riley's beliefs about herself were true or not? And how do you know? And then we want to talk about some of Riley's beliefs that were not true and how those false beliefs impacted the way that she acted. And so we can talk about how Riley believed that she would be completely alone if she didn't make the hockey team and how she believed that she wasn't good enough. And both of these false beliefs caused her to act out of fear. And because she believed that she would be completely alone if she didn't make the hockey team and that she wasn't good enough to make the hockey team, she completely abandoned her best friends just to try to pursue after this goal of making the high school hockey team.

We can also talk about how she completely focused her attention on impressing others and therefore she made fun of her friends. And so these false beliefs that she had about herself, they impacted her behavior, they caused her to do things that were wrong, that actually ended up hurting others. Then we can talk about how when Riley focused on beliefs that were true, they impacted the way that she acted as well. We can even bring up something that might not seem like it's an incredibly positive example, but it is a true belief that Riley realized when she was in the car on the way to camp, that she was feeling really sad when her friends revealed that they had been assigned to a different high school. And so we can talk with our kids and say, how did Riley respond when she recognized that she was feeling sad because her best friends were going to be at a different school? Well, she chose to let herself feel that sadness. And I think that's a really important point in the movie because our culture is all about never feeling emotions that are associated with negative feelings. But she let herself feel sad and she let herself cry, and she let herself recognize that she was going to miss her friends, and that was really helpful for her. So we want to help our kids see the difference between when Riley believed things that were false and how that impacted her versus when she believed things that were true and how that impacted her.

Then we can make it personal and we can say, how can you tell whether your beliefs about yourself are true or not? And this is where we want to bring in Scripture and we want to talk with our kids about how God is our designer, so he understands our design best and he's revealed in his word things that are true about us. And now this conversation is going to be a longer one. It might be one that you can have over dinner and maybe even multiple nights over dinner, but discuss what are some basic truths about us that are revealed in Scripture, and so we can pull out Scripture. That's really the best thing to do with our kids. Take them right to Genesis 1:27 and read that. And Genesis 1:27 says, "so God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them." So we can ask what truths are revealed about your identity in this verse? Well, the truths reveal are God designed you in his image. What does this mean? This means that you have value and worth. Are this value and worth based on anything you've done? No. This value and worth are simply based on the fact that God has created you in his image and no one can take away that value or worth. What else is revealed? Well, God designed you as either male or female. That's something that God has given you a gift that God has given you. Can you change that? No, you can't change that, but you can steward that gift of maleness or femaleness.

Then we can take our kids right to Romans chapter 3, verse 23, which says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." And we can ask what is revealed here about our identity? Well, the truth that's revealed is that we are sinful. We have all been affected by the fall in Genesis three, and here's where we can talk with our kids about one of the lies that was presented in this movie that Riley told herself, I am a good person where Scripture is clear that no one is inherently morally good except God. That we are all sinful, but this isn't the end of the story. Then we can take our kids right to John three 16 which says, "for God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life" and say, okay, what truth is revealed in this verse? That God loves us and this love is not based on anything that we have done. It is based on God's character. We are loved by God.

Then we can take our kids to 1 John chapter three, verse one, which says, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God". And what's revealed in this verse that if we have turned from our sin and trusted in Jesus, we are Gods children. There is nothing we can do to change that, that we are God's children. And so what you can do is you can take your kids to these verses and countless other ones in Scripture and just start writing out a list of your true identity. You can take out a packet of sticky notes and have your children write out these verses and then the truths that are revealed about our identity, and then post these sticky notes on a wall in your house or on your fridge and just start making a running list of truths about your identity.

And after you've done this, you can then ask your kids, what are some beliefs you have about yourself that are true and some beliefs that you have that are not true? And you can share personal examples from your own life. You can say, sometimes I believe that I'm not a good mom, where the truth of the matter is I can never be inherently good, but Jesus has clothed me with his righteousness. And so just share with them some personal examples about things you believe about yourself that are either true and grounded in Scripture or things about yourself that you believe that are not true.

And then once you talk through these beliefs that are true and are not true, then you can talk about what scriptures should you be memorizing and meditating on to make sure that you hold onto these true beliefs and replace these false beliefs with truth. And then you can work with your children on memorizing Scripture to bolster those truths and to replace the lies.

On a personal note, this is something I am even doing in my own life, that one of the truths that I really struggle to believe is that I am worthy because I am made in God's image and because I'm redeemed by Jesus, that I so often believe the lie that my value and worth relies on my performance. And so just yesterday, I was working with one of the people in my life who is discipling me on compiling a list of scriptures that speak to my worthiness because of what Jesus has done for me, so that I'm replacing those lies about myself with the truth.

So I hope that these are three conversations that you can have with your kids about emotions, beliefs, and truths to really just get the most out of watching Inside Out 2 as a family.

For those of you who are interested in just further resources to help you and the children God has placed in your care, evaluate every idea they encounter, I highly recommend that you check out our Biblical Worldview Curriculum and our Comparative Worldview Curriculum. That these are two curriculums and are careful thinking track that are designed to radically transform the way that your children think and evaluate the countless ideas that they are faced with on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis so that they are carefully evaluating these ideas and understanding the truth of the biblical worldview.

Just as a little caveat as we close our time together, I actually just saw Inside Out 2 you today, and I took a friend's children with me to see the movie. And the two kids that I took, there were two boys, ages six and seven, and I did not think that there was anything in the movie that was inappropriate for them to see. However, the movie really went right over their heads, so I think it was appropriate for them to see, but just the content was such that they really didn't get it. And so if you are considering whether or not to take your kids to this movie, if your children are under the age of eight, it might not be one that you want to invest money actually going to see in the theater. You might want to wait until it comes out on streaming services that you're a part of, because I think that the content, while it's not inappropriate, I think it's just going to go over a lot of kids' heads.

Also, if you do choose to take your kids to the theater, one thing to just be aware of, to think through whenever you take them to the theater is that the commercials beforehand and the previews beforehand, even if the movie you're taking them to is appropriate, those commercials and previews might not be appropriate. Even just today, one of the commercials was encouraging people not to drink too much alcohol. And I was looking around the theater and thinking, there are young children in here. That's who most of the audience is, minus the parents. Why is this commercial playing? So just to be discerning with what you are exposing your kids to.

Well, that's a wrap for this episode, but as we leave our time together, my prayer for you is that no matter the situation in which you and the children God has placed in your care, find yourselves that you would trust that God is working all things together for your good. By using all things to conform you more into the image of His Son. I'll see you next time.

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