It’s amazing to me that Toy Story, the animated Pixar movie, was released in 1995. I was seven years old and I remember driving to the movie theatre with my mom and her best friend. It was such a unique movie experience and holds a lot of sentimental value for so many in my generation.
Of all of the lessons taught to small children through its plot points and even the humanity that is held by these kids’ toys, there are important life details I’m sure were not meant to be communicated, and yet they were none-the-less.
One of these details is the question of where Andy’s dad is!? Andy was the young child whose life the movie revolves around. Not once in any of the four Toy Story movies was there even a hint at the whereabouts of this child’s father.
However, if you did some digging, you would find some interesting suggestions as to why ‘dad’ was not included. Craig Good, a camera artist who assisted with the film, suggests that they simply could not afford for Andy to have a dad. CG was incredibly expensive and every unnecessary character included was cost-inefficient.
Lee Unkrich, the director of Toy Story 3 said, “The decision was made really early on in ‘Toy Story’ to have Andy’s dad not be around. We’ve never addressed it directly, nor have we given any explanation for where he is or why he’s absent.” So, from Lee’s perspective, ‘dad’s’ involvement is of so little concern that it wasn’t worth the backstory.
There were no direct parallels purposefully presented by the production team, I’m sure, but I can’t help but notice that connections shared with many today that the father was utterly unnecessary. Where CGI made Andy’s dad too costly for those involved, a consumeristic mentality today encourages fathers to feel that investing in their children is too costly for them as well. This is deeply unfortunate.
Where do children in our broken world go to find the fatherhood that they were created to seek out? Where do they find the loving embrace of ‘dad’ who their subconscious screams out for?
This past Tuesday, we discussed prayer in the young adult group unit on spiritual disciplines. We arrived at the obvious question of “how should we pray”? While there is so little demand for a strict structure that must be adhered to, we couldn’t help finding ourselves in Matthew 6:9-13/Luke 11:2-4. Why? Because one of Jesus’s disciples had just said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). How does Jesus inform His disciples to begin their prayers? “Father” in Luke 11:2. “Our Father” in Matthew 6:9. Father. This God-in-flesh tells sinful humanity that they should come to the Creator of all things as complex as galaxies and the human body and call Him Father.
Hmm, for those who grew up in the Church, this may be taken for granted and we don’t recognize the gravity of the statement. As your chosen presidents, kings, or other powerful people on earth go, they more than likely don’t know you exist, let alone receive you as a precious child of theirs. Does it hurt that a powerful individual you adore doesn’t reciprocate that love? I’m sorry if it may, but it’s meant to be an illustration of how important this role of fatherhood is and how rare it is to find that kind of love in the world, even from (or even especially from) those you wholeheartedly embrace.
Even with our earthly parents, there are many failures and ways that we are let down. As a father myself, I recognize my failings with my children, even with the oldest being only three and a half years old. But the God of the universe loves you so dearly that He, the divine Creator, not only intricately wove you together in your mother’s womb (Psalms 139:13-16), but He died for you and He desires that you call Him Father. That was a direct instruction by Jesus Christ. It is invaluable.
So let us take that lesson with us into our communities. We will come across individuals who grew up without fathers or were damaged in deep ways by the fathers that they did have. The Scriptures give a message of hope to every one of us who were built to seek something Greater. Direct their attention to a loving God, a Father, who can fill the void and make them whole and praise Jesus Christ for what He did on that cross and bridging the gap between us and this incredible God we have come to know (1 Timothy 2:5-6)!
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff