What Can Kid’s Movies (Particularly The Mighty Ducks) Teach Us?

I’m going to assume we’ve all seen at least the first of the Mighty Ducks movies. If you haven’t them, you need to. Right now. They’re some of the greatest (and corniest) movies of my generation.
Now that we’ve all seen the movies, I happened to rewatch D1 (that’s the first movie) a month or so ago with my blasphemous fiancé who had never seen any of them! Then I learned that D2 (I’m sure you understand by now) was added to Netflix (for those of you who haven’t seen them, hint, hint), so I re-watched that also with her. You notice a lot of things you missed as a child when you re-watch things as an adult.
First and foremost, I learned that my memory is intact. I can recite every major line from the movies as if it hadn’t been years since I had seen them. Kidding aside, there are great life lessons in these movies.

Ducks Fly Together!

Let me lead off with a quote from the coach of the Ducks, Coach Gordon Bombay:

“Have you guys ever seen a flock of ducks flying in perfect formation? It’s beautiful. Pretty awesome the way they all stick together. Ducks never say die. Ever seen a duck fight? No way. Why? Because the other animals are afraid. They know that if they mess with one duck, they gotta deal with the whole flock. I’m proud to be a Duck, and I’d be proud to fly with any one of you. So how about it? Who’s a Duck?”

One by one, the players said “I’ll be a duck” and proceeded to claim their jerseys. So what’s the lesson here? Simply: be a team player. You may get ahead being a cut-throat shark but the odds are much better if you’re part of the team. Speak up, make your voice heard, but be willing to hear the voice of others. Be inclusive and understand every viewpoint before you make a decision but at the same time, don’t be afraid to step on toes if you think you’re doing the right thing.

Stand Up for Your Beliefs

There’s a scene where Coach Bombay gets fired for speaking his mind to his boss (he was a lawyer). It goes like this right after he’s fired:

Gordon Bombay: “Yes sir, Mr. Ducksworth. Thank you very much, Mr. Ducksworth. Quack, quack, quack, Mr. Ducksworth!”
Mr. Gerald Ducksworth: “Gordon, stop quacking!”
Gordon Bombay: “Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack!”

This may be my favorite line in the entire movie: “Gordon, stop quacking!” But that aside, what does this tell us? Stand up for yourself. If you really believe in something, own it. You don’t have to go to the extreme of getting fired but make your viewpoint known in a less aggressive way. At least then if something goes wrong, you made your concerns clear before the fact!

You Miss All the Shots You Don’t Take

Excuse the cliché, I’m sorry about that, but I couldn’t resist. The point is, you miss some of the shots you do take too! Coach Bombay flashes back to when he missed the game winning shot in the Pee Wee hockey championship game and how the moment has stuck with him. His ultra-competitive coach (like some parents) essentially told him that “if you miss, you’re letting not just yourself down, not just me, but your entire team!”
Wait, so why is this a good thing? Losing does a lot for us. I (and most people) would argue that you learn more from your failures and mistakes than you do from your successes. I’ve made mistakes at work; it’s taken a while to fix some of them. I won’t make them again and now I know much more about the process surrounding the particular mistake than if I had done it correctly the first time. Make mistakes while you’re young. Learn from them and move on. Take the shot, if you’re wrong then you fix it. If you’re right, you still came out ahead!

The Mr. Miyagi Lesson

Coach Bombay insists on teaching the Ducks how to cradle a puck instead of just trying to slap it across the ice as quickly as they can. They do this by using eggs and hilarity ensues, of course. What’s the lesson here? It’s quite simple. You need not only the skill, but also the right mindset to succeed.
I believe that your mindset is just as important to solving a problem as your skill level. How else can you explain stepping away for lunch and coming back to have the answer staring you in the face? Same with Sudoku’s and crossword puzzles. Once you get frustrated, you’re less likely to think clearly.

The Bottom Line

Try re-watching some of your favorite childhood movies (namely the Mighty Ducks). You may catch some messages you didn’t as a child. Look past the humor a bit and think about what the movie is trying to teach children. Quite frankly, all of these lessons I mentioned apply to both adults and children alike. Team work, standing up for your beliefs, and bringing the right mindset to a problem are all critical traits for success!
As always, look forward to hearing your thoughts. Did I miss something? See any errors? Discussion in general is always welcome!

5 Responses to What Can Kid’s Movies (Particularly The Mighty Ducks) Teach Us?

  1. This is fantastic – I loved this movie as a kid. I didn’t have any ice hockey rinks available to me, so I would slap on some roller blades and pretend the closest parking lot was a skating rink. Great lessons – I think we can find them anywhere if we look hard enough.

  2. Good lessons here! I too love those Mighty Ducks movies. And, I also like the somewhat trite “you miss all the shots you don’t take” because it’s so true! It’s just a great, simple reminder to keep taking risks and putting yourself out there. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Jay says:

      It’s so overused that people ignore it. That’s a problem! People overused it because it’s true and that’s what should be worth remembering.


  3. Kirsten says:

    I loved the Mighty Ducks movies! How cool that you picked out these lessons time around. I’ve got a preschooler, so we have a couple of movies on the repeat loop (Frozen, Tangled, Cars, Planes – she’s going to be a girly tomboy like me). I’m going to have to think more about the not-so-obvious lessons they teach.

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