To truly embrace our roles as stewards, we must learn to listen as well as to command. The subjugation of Nature will only succeed if we recognize the importance of the stewardship to which we have been called. It is easy to assert our importance in the order of Creation, but Heaven help us if we refuse to recognize that safeguarding the integrity of this harmonious universe is as vital a part of our human nature as is our dominion over it.
Indulging our natural curiosity is only an impediment to action when we fail to recognize the humanity of those we are observing, mistakenly viewing them as things rather than people. Mistaking "watching" for "acting" is only possible when we, like Folke's fellow HFIers, "maintain a safe and sterile emotional distance." But dissolve that distance, and our innate desire to interact with our fellow human beings will return in full force.
In those panicked moments, the fear can be overwhelming; the desire to withdraw into the safety of one's self is an easy solution to the exhaustive obligation of parenting. That instinctive shrinking from responsibility, understandable though it may be, ignores both the good we parents do without realizing it and the grace God gives to us as parents. We have been given to power to serve as the most immediate, most formative forces for good in the lives of our children. But we can't be that force without simply being there in the first place.
Teaching by example is an important part of living out our lives as effective parents and faithful Catholics. But it is vital to remember that while "actions speak louder than words," they don't always say exactly what we want them to say, even to those nearest and dearest to us. Sometimes, what we do is less vital to our children's formation than why we did it.
The emptiness of the New York skyline is an emphatic reminder of the extraordinary heroism, nobility, and self-sacrifice that rose from the ashes on that day—a heroism that represents New York just as surely to our generation as those two great buildings did in the decades before September 11, 2001. And as long as we can see these vacant spaces and remember our heroes, we will not be defeated or disheartened by those seeking our abolishment; we will have won.
It would be a shame to dismiss his gentler work as nothing but childish amusement. Like the Pixar films he has influenced, Miyazaki’s creations are both entertaining and enlightening; for him, animation is the lens through which he looks at life, not a way to distance himself or his audience from its lessons.
The boys respond to this apathy with false bravado. But the actions of these wayward children are clearly shown for what they are: hollow attempts to defend their fragile emotions and frailer psyches. Giuseppe, Pasquale, and their fellow cellmates are most definitely children; their swaggering, calloused behavior merely an effort to hide their childhood before someone destroys it.
The film, by delving into the story behind Max's behavior and those of his huge, furry friends, eliminates much of the mischievous charm of its source material; the childlike exuberance which permeates the picture book is largely absent in Jonze's work because the audience knows too much about Max and his Things. Where the Wild Things Are is inappropriate for children because it's sad, not because it's scary—sad about things and emotions which they cannot possibly begin to understand.