How to Totally “Crush” it! Parenting Tips from Finding Nemo

Crush is one of those small characters in a Disney movie that we all fall in love with immediately. Everyone left the theater saying, “Dude!” after their first screening of “Finding Nemo.” He just sticks with you. His laid-back style, his surfer slang. You can’t help but like Crush. And here is the thing: As I did my screening of Finding Nemo in order to write this article, I realized that maybe the best parent in the movie is Crush.

First there is a great scene where all the kids are playing and one baby turtle goes flying out of the current. Marlin rushes to save him and Crush stops him and, totally zen, says,  “Woah, kill the motor, dude. Let us see what little man does, flying solo.” So Marlin turns back and, after a few moments, Squirt re-enters the current all on his own. And then Father and son celebrate this success together! Squirt tells his dad about it, Crush tells him he is awesome, and they exchange high fives.

Wait, did I just learn about parenting from a turtle? Yep, this is great parenting advice! We have to let our little dudes figure it out on their own sometimes. Trust and enable them to make their own choices—and when they make the right choice, celebrate! I imagine that if Squirt had not returned on his own, that still would have been okay, because Crush was right there watching, ready to step in if needed.

But then Crush takes this parenting technique to a whole new level. Step two of parenting according to Crush comes when he is talking to Marlin about parenthood. He says, “Oh, it’s awesome, Jellyman. The little dudes are just eggs, we leave ’em on a beach to hatch, and then, coo-coo-cachoo, they find their way back to the big ol’ blue.” I don’t know if it is because my son is about to start kindergarten or if I am just a sentimental Hallmark-makes-me-cry type of lady, but this hits me right in the feels. We have to trust the instincts of our children. We have to believe that what we have taught them will still be with them even when we are not. My control freak side does not like this idea, but as a mother, man do I hope I have the courage to let go, to leave them on the beach, and to trust in the coo-coo-cachoo.

Crush, dude, thanks for the tips! And as a last tip, always remember to “have an exit buddy!” You know, just in case.