Monsters University

It only took us six and a half years.

But finally, this summer, we braved the movie theater with our kids.

After spending years analyzing and stressing over which movie would be the perfect first theater experience (not too scary, not too boring, not so riveting that they can’t take pee breaks), we decided on Monsters University, and it was ideal. So much so that we took them to Planes just a couple of months later – clearly we should have started taking them sooner.

Although Noah’s favorite monster is Sulley, nothing is quite as fabulous as hearing him yell in a theater full of people, “There’s MIKE WAZOWSKIIIIIIIIII!”

The movie itself was awesome, and thanks to its college setting, had plenty of humor for the adults, too.

It begins with Mike as an elementary student, visiting the Scare Floor at Monsters Inc on a field trip, where he has an experience that makes him fall in love with the idea of becoming a scarer. The only problem is – he’s really cute. Nope – not scary at all. And no matter how hard Mike tries, he’s…freaking adorable.

Fast forward a decade or so. (Do monsters count time in decades? Let’s say they do.) He arrives at Monsters University ready to be a scare major, but he faces obstacle after obstacle, despite his determined attitude and OCD study habits.

And then there’s Sulley, who comes from a long line of scarers, and is naturally of the best scare-material, despite his complete lack of studying or care about school. This does not sit well with Mike.

I won’t ruin the ending, but I’m just going to say that I love it. The entire movie shares the lesson that determination and long-term commitment are the keys to achieve goals, and Ali needs this message on repeat in her life. Because she, like her mother, is a bit of a paranoid-perfectionist. If she can’t do it perfectly and with flourish the first time, she’d rather not try – because then people would realize she wasn’t perfect.

(This is the reason I never learned how to dive. It’s a hard thing to practice with no one watching.)

When in reality, few people are perfect the first time they try something – it only took me a couple of decades to realize this. And anyway, it’s the mistakes and failures that make the best stories when you grow up to be a Mommy Blogger.

All that to say, I hope that perhaps the message gets into her head before it got into mine – to not be afraid to commit to a dream and work hard for it, for a very long time, and despite failures, without giving up.

Just like that adorably cute Mike Wazowski did. Because he’s on the Scare Floor now.


So. I have a $50 Visa Gift Card and a Monsters University Blu-ray Combo Pack to give away to one of you! Who wouldn’t want that?

To enter, comment and tell me how you encourage your kids to believe in and work for their dreams, or how you’ve worked for your own.

No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “”#SweepstakesEntry””; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post”
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 10/3/13 – 11/3/13.
Be sure to visit the Monsters University Page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by BlogHer and Disney. They did not pay for my theater visit, and my opinions are always my own. Monsters University is available for pre-order – own It First On Digital HD 10/8 & Blu-ray™ Combo Pack 10/29.

Here’s an exclusive video from Pixar for you:

105 thoughts on “Monsters University and Life {And a Giveaway!}

  1. Hmmm, we really try to “run with it” when are children are interested in something. We encourage them to learn all about it and to be adventurous with that they want to do. They know home is a safe place to fail, but also a fun place to succeed.

  2. I make sure they know that they can do anything they set their mind to. If they are determined, they can reach their goal and their dreams if it is attainable.

  3. I was always one to worry about what people thought of me, so it really held me back growing up. I just always stressed to my kids not to worry about anyone else and what they might think. Life is too short. Do everything you want to do and have fun.

  4. My son has no problem believing in himself. He actually has quite the ego – he thinks he is absolutely the best at everything. I think this has to do with literally being the only child in our entire extended family. Everyone is very encouraging!

    I spent my childhood wanting to be a famous singer/musician. I never pursued it because I was actually too shy to perform in front of anyone. About a year and half ago, I started playing ukulele and started taking group lessons. A few of us are looking at starting up our own band and going out performing. It’s a far cry from being famous but I’ve come a long way from being too scared to perform!

    I feel like seeing mommy do everything and anything that I want is setting a great example for my son to just go for it!

  5. I think the biggest thing we do is ask the kids what they want to accomlish, and then we pray with them. we want them to know that God can help them achieve their dreams.

  6. I printed out a phrase “Mistakes are opportunities to learn” in BIG letters and hung it at our homeschool desk. For my students but mostly for me.

  7. I like to let them experience/get a taste of whatever goal/dream they have in mind. For me, it takes an idea and makes it seem more attainable and concrete, when I can dab my toe in and see if I can actually see myself doing that. So when kiddo stated he wants to be a chef, it was field trip to a restaurant with an open kitchen, have him read a recipe and make dinner for all of us, restaurant themed party where he created the menu and served as host and server. Turns out he totally loves cooking. Kiddo 2 has gone through a variety of career options and not found one that suits him after he gets to experience it, which has helped him learn that it’s okay to not be right for every job and to look for one that really resonates with him. He’s thinking engineering now and we’ve got some bridge building projects lined up (bonus – Mommy gets some much desired landscape pieces, haha!).

  8. Hmmmm. We’ve been using catch phrases a lot lately, like “you get what you get and you don’t get upset.” Even though it is meant to dicourage whining when he doesn’t get what he wants (the blue glass instead of the green glass, the bigger cookie, etc.), it actually works on a number of things that it doesn’t logically apply to. I use it a lot during homework time when he throws a fit after getting a spelling word wrong. It doesn’t really make sense in that context, but it seems to hit his calming trigger. I also remind him a lot that “you didn’t mess up, this is how practicing works.” Usually those two phrases are enough to calm him, refocus him, and get that eraser moving. :)

  9. Can’t wait to intruduce our kids to Monsters Inc. One of the best- and hardest- lessons I learned in college is that talent isn’t enough. It may get you in the door, but skill and hard work are what set you apart. Also- the process is just as important (sometimes more so!) than the product.

  10. I encourage my girls to be proud of who they are. I tell them that they can do whatever they set their minds to.

  11. I try to use lots of positive enforcement, encouraging them for their hard work and the process, rather than results.

  12. Our son is a perfectionist as well. We actually sign him up for activities that he doesn’t have much experience in (like music or art) and praise his efforts and hard work. We also talk about doing things for enjoyment instead of competing.

  13. I think one of the biggest things that we as parents can do is to teach our kids that they can try anything they put their mind to doing. Whether that be something silly, something funny, or something out of this world! Encouraging a future generation is one of the best parts about being a mom! :)

  14. My kids are pretty young but for now, I encourage them to keep trying and reiterate that if something is a challenge, it’s important not to let that stop you from trying again and again.

  15. My first has boundless confidence but my second is such a little pefectionist. We try to find things that he’s interested in and encourage him not to give up when things don’t go exactly as he wants. I’m the same way so I know how hard it is!

  16. Haven’t achieved my dream yet, but I stay positive and don’t let others influence me in a negative way.
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  17. We use the “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” a lot whenever they feel like giving up. We try to encourage them to finish what they start and give it their best!

  18. I don’t read your blog to think!!!
    My kids are 6, 4 and 1. They don’t have much in the way of dreams yet beyond birthday parties, pizza and picking their own clothes. But I am trying to teach them how to enjoy learning so that they will have be able to open opportunities for their future.

  19. I encourage my kids to follow through with the work they’ve started, like when I attained my MBA while working full time. It takes a lot of work, but if you believe in yourself anything is possible.

  20. I try to encourage our children to try anything, and that not trying is failing, to overcome our fears or failings makes us stronger and better.

  21. We are really working to teach our daughter that success is a product of effort, not a static quality. So we say, “You tried so hard!” not “You are so smart!” I struggle with the same perfectionism you describe, so I’m hoping to spare my daughter some of the frustration I’ve had over the years.

  22. I encourage my 11 month old Son by being his cheerleader. I know he isn’t working towards his dreams just yet, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t trying super hard to do, well, hard things. When I see him working on a new ability (talking, crawling, pincer grasp, etc…) I get down at his level and cheer him on. I give him praise even when he falls down or loses his grip. I would hope that he knows he will always impress me by just giving it his best shot. I love rooting for him and seeing the comprehension come over him when he gets something down.

  23. No kids yet! (Although, in my nanny life I beg to differ! (: Ha). However, I do tell the kids that I watch that they are good at whatever they are doing, yesterday we played “WildCrats” (you have to put on a power suit and get the bad guys), puppy, bear and lions, and pilots. My kiddos are very wise and love to hear praise. I think being a positive influence in their life definitely builds their self-esteem and I know that these kids CAN accomplish whatever their goal may be!(:

  24. We have been doing positive affirmations lately. “I can do hard things”, “It’s okay to make mistakes”, “I like myself”, for example. It is good to have something to replace negative self-talk when we become discouraged.

  25. Through hard work and perseverance and continuing to gain knowledge about my field of work, I’ve been able to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself professionally, thus resulting in being able to afford goals that I set for myself personally.

  26. I really try to encourage Quinn to do things herself and not take over even when it’d be “easier”. She’s only two so I do still have to do plenty of things after she does it, but seeing her so excited yelling “I DID IT!” is worth it.

  27. I’d love to win! We tell our kids that they always are responsible for trying their hardest and being the hardest worker out there. Quitting is not an option. Another motto we try to parent by is to never do anything for our kids that they can do for themselves.

  28. Heh. I took a Stanford Online course this summer with Jo Boaler on “How to Learn Math” and one of the things that she said that I found particularly interesting was that our neurons make new connections when we make mistakes. Actually it turns out that if you do a sheet of math problems and get them all right, you might feel good but your brain isn’t literally growing the way it would if you get them wrong.

    She’s going to post some of the videos etc at – I found it absolutely fascinating stuff.

    In any case, we’ve been trying to incorporate her suggestions on encouraging a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset (not just important for math!)

  29. I try to encourage my son to try new things and not give up. I try to set an example by being open to trying new things.

  30. I had my mom who always told me my dreams were possible and helped me accomplish my goals even when I wanted to give up

  31. I struggled to believe in myself prior to having children, as odd as it sounds becoming a Mother gave me a new found confidence. I try to be the best version of myself possible so that I can be a role model to my children. My dream was always to be content with my lot in life and I truly am.

  32. I achieved my dream of being a stay-at-home mom! My husband went to school while working full-time to switch careers. Then we moved to a different state and I was able to quit my job and stay home with our daughter. I love it! It meant so much to me to have my mom home when I was growing up, and I wanted the same for my daughter. So now we have it!

  33. I’m working on making my own dreams come true right now, for the first time in a long time, and crap, I’m learning a lot about myself in the process. Sigh.

    With my kids I really want them to find what they enjoy doing or what they do well and have confidence in it, and understand that it’s okay to not do everything perfectly. That’s why God made so many different kinds of people.

  34. This is SO IMPORTANT to me with my daughter because I was definitely the way Ali is when I was younger. It’s hard to unlearn! Since she’s still so little, mostly we just really try to not step in too quickly to help. She will ask for help getting up on the sofa or something else that she can do herself, and I then have to stop my mommy instinct to help her, and just encourage her to do it herself.

    I am also trying to stop myself (and other family members) from praising her very much for being “smart.” I have read that this can teach kids that appearing “smart” is the goal, rather than trying things. So I try to instead praise for work or effort. Or even not praise at all, but say something like “I watching you play legos” instead.

  35. I believe in myself because I know I am loved and I achieve my dream by expecting the hard way ahead and taking one bite at a time.

  36. I encourage my kids to try their hardest and do their best- that as long as they are working hard and pursing their goals, they are doing GREAT and I am proud of them. :)

  37. I set goals and create plans with the end in mind. Right now there are several challenges but I will not let them get in the way of my dreams. Staying focused is so important!

  38. I believe in my self and achieve my dreams by having positive self talk, and reflecting on all of the things I have been able to accomplish in the past.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  39. Knowing that I had to pay for my graduate degree (and undergraduate), I worked as many as 3 jobs while going to school full time. It was hard, but it was worth it! Thanks kmassman gmail

  40. I achieved my dreams because I reminded myself “just keep swimming… just keep swimming”. I put myself through university and became a teacher (with debt that I have thankfully since paid off).

    I encourage my kids to look for their strengths and focus on them.

  41. I encourage my son to be as creative as he can be. I give him ideas and he puts on his own and from their he plays with them until he creates really unique things he have fun with.

  42. I encourage them to follow through and not give up so quickly, I tell them try, try and try again you might just like it!

  43. We always tell our son that he is capable of anything he sets his mind to. My husband coaches a high school wrestling team and I think the fact that our son is growing up around these young men has been amazing for his self-confidence. Our son truly believes that he can pin any and all of the older boys… even our 260 pound heavyweight (despite the fact the our son weighs 46 pounds!)! We always encourage him to try new things and to give 100% in everything he does.

  44. I have always let my son know that just about anything is possible with hard work and believing in yourself.
    I always wanted to be a teacher. Two weeks before I graduated high school life through me a curve and I was diagnosed with Lupus. I wasn’t able to go to college then or later, but later as a wife and mom (a dream I didn’t even know I had) I have fulfilled that dream. I “teach”, though it may be life lessons, without a degree.


  45. I believed that I could do it and went to school and practiced until I reached my goal/dream

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  46. I shared my setbacks with my children so they could see how much I accomplished from what I had learned. Now they know that every “failure” is an opportunity to learn and grow.

  47. I became a mom at for the first time at 18 and though I had lost out on my dream of becoming a nurse. It took years but with lots of dedication I finally was able to graduate from nursing school.

    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  48. No matter what the obstacles and there are many, I believe in myself and have picked myself up and keep striving for my dreams

  49. I believe in myself and achieve my dreams by understanding that what I have to contribute is of value and by surrounding myself with positive thoughts and, better yet, positive, supportive friends. I also write out inspirational quotes each week and place them around the house as a reminder that I can reach my goals. :)

  50. 25 years ago I didn’t think I could sing, but I took singing lessons, joined two choirs and have been singing ever since.
    Thanks for the contest.

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