I watched the movie Hook the other day and something struck me. The grown up Peter Pan had a really hard time flying.
Now, if you know the Peter Pan story, you know that all it takes to fly is a little pixie dust and one happy thought. In the classic Disney version of the story, the Darling siblings think of things as simple as snow and sleigh bells and they’re able to take off.
At the end of Hook, Peter’s kids each think about their parents as their happy thoughts, and without a care in their heads, they lift off the ground and head back to the real world.
It takes Peter two-thirds of the movie to find his happy thought and regain the ability to fly. Now, not that any of us can actually fly thanks to a happy thought (then again, I’ve never encountered any pixie dust either). But what is it that happens between childhood and adulthood that takes away our ability to fly. Really, the question should be what takes away our happy thought?
Watching Hook, it’s easy to see that the grown-up Peter Pan is scared. He’s taken upon himself the weight of the world, or at least the world according to his career. Added to that pressure he’s forced to enter a strange world to rescue his children.
As a kid, Peter Pan had no worries and no fears. A lot of kids are that way. Kids are able to play games and explore the worlds of their imaginations in ways that grown-ups are just unable to do. As they grow up, they’re slowly introduced to the real world and are faced with troubles that they didn’t have to deal with as children. As these troubles cross their paths, they begin to let fear and doubt creep in. And then they lose that childlike faith and trust that flying required of them.
Why is it so difficult for adults to find a truly happy thought and just latch on to it?
Or is it just me?