Some day you’ll all make your mark.

“The Good Dinosaur” is a coming of age story.  The main character, Arlo, has to learn who he is and how to overcome his fear in order to find his place in the world.  The story is loosely based on frontier life where those who weren’t strong enough to withstand the harsh environment didn’t survive.  The cards are stacked against Arlo.  He is the runt of the litter.  He is the weakest, smallest, and slowest.  He is also the most frightened.  In spite of his obvious failings his parents treat him no differently than his two siblings.  In fact, Poppa and Momma expect great things from all three of their children.

Early in the movie, the family gathers around the newly built silo to watch as Poppa and Momma place their ‘marks’ on the completed building.  The marks are a sign of accomplishment and pride.  An important milestone has been reached and it is worth noting.  Poppa tells the children that the time will come when they will each get to make their mark as well.  Each of them will contribute something of worth and they will be able to note the occasion for posterity.  While Poppa is speaking about a literal mark the children will get to make, his comment can be taken in a symbolic way as well.

As we move through our lives we leave evidence of ourselves behind.  We leave our mark on people that we come in contact with.  When we do something big or memorable, we leave our mark and those who see it know that we have been there.  Things that we do and say have an impact on others whether we mean them to or not.  We can all tell the stories of those friends, family members, teachers, or random encounters that have changed us in a basic and fundamental way.  Unfortunately not all of those stories are positive.

When we tell someone that they don’t belong, that they are less, that they are not ‘one of us’ we leave a mark.  Often those marks are permanent.  They carry at least as much weight as the positive marks we leave, possibly more. We all have a chance to leave our mark in this world.  What kind of mark do we want to leave?

Did you enjoy Arlo’s journey?  Tell me here:


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