An INSIDE OUT Family Discussion Guide. Introduction.

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1 An INSIDE OUT Family Discussion Guide Introduction A Biblically- based tool to help your kids talk about their feelings using the popular Pixar movie. God made every person with the unique ability to feel and express a variety of emotions. The ways that we experience things, feel them, and then express our emotions can play a big part of defining who we are. In fact, a person s personality can be a result of experiences, memories, how we take care of ourselves, and even what we think and believe about God. Getting children to talk about their feelings can be hard sometimes. Thankfully, Pixar s Inside Out provides a wonderful framework on which to have key discussions within your family. The content of the film, though not biblically- based, can give families some common language to help them to discuss how God has uniquely wired every person. This guide might be helpful for kids of any age, though you may need to adjust the questions based upon the ages of your kids. As the movie beautifully illustrates, babies are pretty simple (their control center is small) while middle schoolers are dealing with a lot of new emotions that can be difficult to manage (i.e. Riley s upgrade at the end of the movie). Please modify this tool as needed. One final word: don t feel obligated to work through the whole guide at once. Read through it so you know what is available. Then, as you watch Inisde/Out in the coming days, discuss the different topics as your kids ask questions or as they notice certain elements in the story. Most importantly, have fun! This guide should tee up interesting and natural conversations, not feel like work. May God guide you as you talk with your kids! - Barrett Johnson I.N.F.O. for Families

2 Talk About Emotions Inside Out shows what is happening in Riley s brain and shows how five key emotions interact. While we can experience far more emotions than these five, they provide a basic framework for many common human experiences. In the movie, Riley experienced things we all do. Talk about how each of these emotions are normal and that God allows us to experience them. Joy: Read Galatians 5:22, where Paul lists joy as part of the fruit of the spirit. Joy (happiness in spite of our circumstances) is a product of God s work in our lives. While it is easy to be happy when everything is great in our lives, James 1:2-4 tells us that we can find joy even when we are going through trials. Q. How is joy different from happiness? Q. Do you feel joy most days? Why or why not? Sadness. Read Romans 9:2. Paul described the great sorrow and grief he was experiencing. Even Jesus felt sadness at different times. (He wept when Lazarus died.) Q. What things in life make you sad? Q. What happened in the movie when joy tried to tell Sadness not to express herself? Anger. Read Ephesians 4:26. Note that God tells us not to sin when we are angry. That means that anger has a place in our lives. (Even Jesus was angry at times). Q. What makes you angry? Q. Are they things that make God angry, too, or is your anger usually rooted in selfish things? Q. How do we sin when we are angry? Why is it so hard to not sin when we are angry? Fear. As in the movie, fear is normal for every person. It exists to keep us from dangerous situations. However, if we aren t careful, fear can grip our lives. Read Psalm 27:1 and talk about what we have to fear if we have given God control of our lives. Q. What are some of the things you are afraid of? Q. How can trusting in God help us to face our fears? Disgust. There are times when our disgust can be positive. Read in Mark 11:15-16 about how Jesus disgust led him to clear the temple. This sort of righteous indignation honors God. But most of the time, our disgust is rooted in a bad attitude or prideful spirit. We think we are better than others. We all have to keep our disgust in check. Q. What are some things that disgust you? What are things you REALLY don t like? Q. Do you sometimes show disgust in a way that might hurt others feelings? Q. What are some examples of disgust that might be good and even honor God?

3 More Q. What other emotions do you think they should have included in the movie? Q. What emotions have you felt this morning? Q. When you go through a difficult time in life (like Riley s move to San Francisco), you can feel lots of powerful emotions. Have you had any times like that? What did you feel? Talk About Memories In the past, when Riley had a meaningful emotional experience, a core memory would be made (the glowing balls). What was interesting is that some memories that were once joyful became sad after her move to San Francisco. Note that a lot of our memories that aren t very important to us emotionally are lost forever. Perhaps God does that so that we don t get overwhelmed with so many thoughts. Q. What are some of your earliest memories? Were they happy or sad? Q. What impact do our core memories have on our personalities? Q. Can you think of any memories that had an effect on who you are and how you act? Talk About Personality The different aspects of Riley s personality are illustrated as islands. These key elements were established early on in her life by the core memories that she enjoyed early on. Her personality was marked by things such as family, honesty, love for hockey, and a tendency to be a goofball. Q. If you could see these islands inside your life, what would they be? Q. When she entered a sad season of life, Riley stopped caring about some of the things that were once important to her. Has this ever happened to you? Q. What are some traits that should mark the personality of every Christian? In the movie, it is interesting to note that each family member s brains were led by one key emotion. You can see this at the dinner table scene. Riley was led by Joy, Mom was led by Sadness, and Dad was led by Anger. These key emotions can power our lives, as well. Q. What emotion do you think is in the driver s seat of your life? Do you wish you could change that? Read Romans 12:2 for a thought on how God wants us to renew our minds. Q. What emotion do you think is at the driver s seat of your parents? Your siblings?

4 Talk about Dealing with Emotions in Healthy Ways One key part of the movie was Joy trying to convince Sadness not to be sad. Riley s parents didn t help by asking her to be a happy girl during a difficult time. Telling certain emotions that they are wrong can be unhealthy for our hearts and minds. Doing that can make us emotionally and physically sick, just as it did in Riley s life. Q. Have you ever had emotions that you felt were wrong or bad? What were they? Q. How could you have expressed those feelings in a healthy way to someone you trust? When life gets hard, our bodies and minds tend to kick in to fight or flight mode. We make decisions to either work through the emotions or to run from them. When Riley was overwhelmed, her impulse was for flight. She wanted to run away to where she used to live. Q. What are some situations when flight is a good idea? Q. What are some situations where it might be a good idea to stick around and fight? Q. What is your natural tendency, fight or flight? Perhaps the saddest part of Inside Out is when Riley enters a season of unhappiness because of her new life in San Francisco. She lashes out at her parents, she wants to quit hockey, and she has a very hard time at school. Some would say that she was depressed. This is a fancy word for a lasting sadness that can make you feel and behave in some ways that you can t fully understand. Families who love one another need to be on the lookout for family members who seem depressed. Look for changes in behavior, sleeping and eating habits, loss of energy, or lingering feelings of sadness. The important thing to remember is that no emotion or experience (even depression) should be demonized or declared as unacceptable. Both children and adults need to learn to be able to freely express what they are feeling in appropriate ways. You can always share feelings with a loved one and seek God for His comfort. If symptoms of depression persist, there may be value in seeing a trusted counselor or physician. Q. Have you ever had a time when you felt like your sadness would never go away? Q. Did you feel like you could share that with your family? Why or why not? Q. How does God want to help us when we are going through a sad time?

5 Talk About Relationships Emotions get complicated in relationships, mainly because they can drive our personalities. The reality is that each member of your family will have different life experiences, different personalities, and different emotions every day. That requires us to give each other room to approach things in different ways. If we are honest, we will realize that most of our conflicts at home (in marriage, with teenagers, and even with small children) is rooted in this question: Why can t you be more like me? Our logic goes that if only everyone else in our family would see things the way we do, things would be a lot better. Because we are all different, that is never going to happen. We must work every day to understand the differences within our families and adjust accordingly. We must strive everyday to see things from each other s perspectives. Different isn t wrong It s just different. And that s okay. Q. Discuss as a family some of the core memories that shaped each of your personalities. Q. What are some personality differences in your family that cause conflict? Q. What would God say to each of your about how to manage the conflicts? Talk About Talking In any discussion of our emotions, make sure your kids know that they can always talk to you about anything and everything they are feeling. Parents must be a trusted place that they know they can go. Specifically remind your kids of the following: You can tell me anything you are feeling. You won t get in trouble for honesty. No emotions are bad. How we handle them should reflect how God is leading us. I give you permission to correct me (as your parent) when you feel that I am not handling my emotions in a way that honors God. While Anger, Sadness, Fear, and even Disgust might be present in our hearts, our desire is for Joy to be dominant in our lives. That comes from allowing God to be in control. That should be the goal of each member of our family. ww.infoforfamilies.com

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