Monday, July 30, 2012

Life Lessons from The Lorax

11:08 AM

On the flight home from London, while browsing the endless movie selections, I decided to watch Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. I'm a Dr. Seuss fan, and had missed this one when it was out. And I knew I wouldn't have to think too hard to watch it [because I was up at 4am and the last thing I wanted was a heavy drama!]. But I was surprised by how this movie did make me think.

The story is clearly aimed at environmental protection issues, as the main character lives in a town of all plastic, where all the trees have been destroyed and fresh air is bottled & sold. The boy, Ted, hears about a real tree, and sets off to bring one back for the girl of his dreams. Along the way, he mets the Once-lor, who tells him how through greed & materialism the trees & the air were destroyed.

Now I'm sure by this point, many people were rolling their eyes at heavy-handed agenda pushing in a children's film. But I wasn't. The character, The Lorax, the One Who Speaks for the Trees, had some pretty wise statements in the film that didn't remind me of tree hugging, but in fact, this fight against human trafficking. He says, "Which way does a tree fall? Whichever way it leans. Be careful which way you lean." I don't think people just fall into bad decisions overnight, nor does slavery & oppression appear overnight. But it comes from a lifetime of leaning. Which am I leaning? I aim to lean towards freedom, justice & truth, with the hopes that that is where I will fall. 

As Ted was complaining about not being able to change the situation in the town with the trees, the Once-lor tells him, "Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.". Everyone has a voice, and every single person can be part of demanding a better world. I'm not saying everyone has to pick up the fight against trafficking, because God has broken each of our hearts differently. For some of my friends it's hunger & clean water issues around the world, for others its the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and for others it's the orphan crisis. Whatever it is, don't be silent. Care about something. Talk about something. Change something.

As Ted announced before planting the last remaining tree seed, "My name is Ted, and I speak for the trees!", I challenge you to speak for something. "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensuring justice for those who are perishing. Yes, speak up for the poor & helpless and see that they get justice." - Proverbs 31:8-9.

So, "My name is Joy and I speak for the enslaved!"

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!