Popcorn Party: Your Healthcare Companion

Last night I got to see “Big Hero Six” at the movie theater. I was super excited to see the movie since I had heard so many good things and the trailer looked so good. In fact, the movie trailer I shared with you a few weeks ago for a Friday Fun post was one of the reasons I was so excited. Turns out my excitement was worth it, because the movie was awesome! I believe that part of the reason I enjoyed the movie so much was because it had lots of laughs and lots of adventure. But another reason is what caused me to want to write a blog post about it.

I mentioned in my post two weeks ago how the character Baymax reminds me of myself at work. After seeing the whole movie, I am even more convinced that Baymax had some sort of Child Life Specialist training placed on his programing chip. In fact, the movie made me think that “Big Hero Six” would be a great movie to use in a therapeutic activity. So I’d like to talk about ways to use “Big Hero Six” as a way to initiate a teachable moment with kids and teens (and even adults!). With that being said, please note that the rest of this blog post contains spoilers regarding “Big Hero Six” so if you don’t want any surprises given away, come back and read the rest of the post after you’ve seen the movie! You won’t regret it!

Okay, so for those of you who have seen the movie already or don’t mind spoilers, I would like to focus on two themes that surfaced. That’s not to say that there were others, I just don’t think I can fit it all in one post. The first is about stereotypes. Very quickly we learn that the main character Hiro is very smart, but uses his brains to fight in underground illegal robot battles. He tells his older brother Tadashi that he thinks going to college would be boring and doesn’t want to be labeled as a nerd. Eventually he realizes that going to school is actually quite cool, especially when the students get to challenge themselves with projects that they are passionate about.

First off I want to take a moment to talk about my thoughts on this. I am really glad that the movie showcases students who are excited and passionate about school. Not only that, but the students are pushing the bar, coming up with amazing ideas and implementing them. Now I know that these are all college students, but I think we can still learn a thing to two. The fact that Hiro is only 14 and making his own inventions is one point that speaks volumes. Yes, he is a genius, but that doesn’t mean only geniuses can invent awesome things. I’ve seen some pretty awesome science experiments done by what some people would deem as “average” middle school students. I hope that this movie inspires viewers to stretch their creative minds and push the envelope. I will admit that as I left the theater, one of my comments to my friends was “Let’s go do science!”

The second theme I wanted to focus on was grief and loss. As the movie progresses, Hiro has to deal with the emotions that come with loosing a loved one. Baymax, who is a robot created to help people in need of medical attention, attempts to help Hiro with his feelings of grief. As my fellow Child Life Specialists know, healing from the grief from a death is something that takes a very long time, and there are many ways to assist a grieving person. Baymax gives a variety of “treatment options” to Hiro that he finds off the internet which Hiro finds helpful, or not helpful, depending on the time and situation that Baymax offers. I was really happy to see how they gave Baymax the right suggestions on how to deal with grief. It is very important to have contact with family and friends, as well as having positive touch (hugging!). I know he did a few other things as well, but so far I’ve only seen the movie once, and there was so much to take in! At the same time, the things Baymax tried didn’t always work, which is what happens in real life as well. Things like loss and grief don’t follow the textbook description and certain techniques may work in one situation but not in a different situation. As Baymax does, you have to roll with the punches and keep trying.

So how can we use these themes in the movie when working with kids and teens? First off we can ask them questions about what they thought and how they felt when watching the movie. Did they have moments where they related to a character? What was it like for Hiro when Tadashi died? How did he feel when he discovered who the masked man was? What can they learn from the experiences that Hiro had throughout the story?

If you want to get creative, have the kids and teens think about what their super power would be if Hiro made them a super hero suit. You can have them even draw a picture of the suit and then share with everyone else. After they’ve picked a power, encourage them to brainstorm ways to make the power a reality. Maybe you have a teen that wants to super power of flight. How would you go about being able to fly here in the real world? Does that mean learning to become a pilot? Or something else entirely?

You can also have kids and teens think about the things they believe that Baymax would need to know to be able to help people. In the beginning of the movie Baymax doesn’t understand everything, for example when Hiro says Baymax gave him a heart attach, Baymax attempts to shock Hiro. What else would Baymax need to know in order to give great care to his patients?

I could go on, but this post is already getting really long. But before I end, I want to add one more thing. This movie isn’t just for kids and teens, it’s very applicable to adults as well. There are so many different things that you can talk about after seeing this movie, like love, death, and revenge, just to name a few. I feel like you could also use parts of this movie in presentations advocating for things like more chances for creative in school, or the benefit of Child Life Specialists to patients and their families. Like I said in the beginning, Baymax kind of does my job. I am always reminding people that crying is a natural coping response, and I often ask my patients to rate their pain on a scale from one to ten!

What are your thoughts on the movie? Did you see anything noteworthy that you’d like to share? What are your thoughts on how the character of Hiro and Baymax were portrayed? Leave a comment below!

Movie Snapshot

Title: Big Hero Six

Subjects: Grief, Loss, Bereavement, Stereotypes, Inspiration

Ages: 6 and up

Therapeutic Value:

Questions for Discussion:
If you could have a supersuit created by Hiro, what would it’s superpower be?
When Hiro’s brother Tadashi die, what was Hiro feeling? How could his friend help him in that moment?
When Hiro found out who the masked man was, what did he feel? Should he act on those feelings? Why or why not?
What would you teach Baymax about helping people who were hurt?
Have you ever had a time when you couldn’t come up to the answer to a problem? How did you overcome it?
Have you ever felt like people didn’t understand you? What did you do to fix it?

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