5 Life Lessons I Learned from Peter Pan

My family and I recently attended an epic rendition of the family-friendly classic tale of Peter Pan by Bros do Prose. Instead of expecting the kids to keep their bottoms firmly planted in the seats and their lips buttoned, they encouraged dancing, singing, and laughter. The actors’ performance inspired imagination beyond the simple set- Captain Hook’s “hook” was actually a karate trophy, Wendy’s furniture in her room was a plastic cooler and the ship? Scaffolding on wheels. The cast includes two actors who somehow managed to convey every single one of the 25 characters in the play- Captain Hook’s duel with Peter was a comically simulated back-and-forth monologue, and the Lost Boys were illustrated with a super hero glove.

Peter Pan Life Lessons

The amount of talent from these two performers brought to the stage was unfathomable, yet wildly entertaining and joyous. The music was a mix up of classic melodies and rap, rhyme and prose. I love how this crew showed children that there is more than one way to tell a story, and as long as you bring heart, energy, and enthusiasm you will succeed.

During the show, I started to think about a few life lessons that Peter Pan’s story brings to the minds and souls of audience members and how I can apply them to our family life. Storytelling has been around as long as humankind and has evolved to adapt to the digital age. Facebook posts? Storytelling. That Netflix binge-worthy series? Storytelling. Peter Pan is a classic story that paves the way to discuss these life lessons with your family.

Think happy thoughts to fly.

Sometimes my thoughts drift towards all that is wrong in life. I start to feel heavy, weighed down and unable to see the everything that is right. When I was watching Peter Pan, I saw the parallel between thinking happy thoughts, and how those are so uplifting that they can help you lift off. Negative thoughts keep you on the ground, nothing good comes from them; but those happy ones? They help your dreams take flight.

Bros do Prose Peter Pan
Breon Arzell as Peter Pan and Ella Raymont as Wendy; Photo Credit: Christian Libonati

Hurt people hurt people.

Captain James Hook wasn’t born cruel, he became that way when he was teased and bullied as a child. Throughout this past year, I have realized that when people are hurt, they can try to hurt others because they are defensive and suspicious of others. I think this phrase sums up a lot of issues that children who have been hurt deal with later in life. Think about people in your life who have hurt you- could they be suffering from a past hurt?

Bros do Prose Peter Pan in Chicago
Ella Raymont as Crocodile and Breon Arzell as Captain Hook; Photo Credit: Les Rorick

If you believe in someone, it gives them life.

When Tinkerbell is on the verge of perishing, Peter encourages everyone in the audience to believe in her which in turn brings her back to life. This is actually called the “Tinkerbell Effect.” Think of how it feels to have people believe in you, support you- does it give you life? How can you show someone you care about that you believe in them?

Peter Pan by Bros do Prose
Ella Raymont as Wendy and Breon Arzell as Peter Pan; Photo Credit: Les Rorick

Mothers come in different forms.

As a mom myself, I truly understand how important it is to have a nurturing presence in your life. When I am ill, I just want someone to take care of me like my mom did when I was little. I see how impactful the effect of the mother role is in my own children- they look to me for reassurance, guidance, and structure. But what if children grow up without a mom? Or what if you are already grown but need that reassurance, guidance, and structure yourself? Mothers come in different forms. How can you “mother” someone who might need a little support? Practice empathy, patience, support and yes- that all-important unconditional love.

Bros do Prose Peter Pan performance
Ella Raymont as Michael/Wendy; Photo Credit: Les Rorick

Growing up doesn’t mean you have to stop playing.

Life can get so serious, but I often have to stop my train of thought and let go. The times that I am truly joyful are the moments when I play with my kids:

  • The time I had a backflip challenge on the trampoline (pulled a few muscles but I laughed so hard it was worth it)
  • Hosting a fashion show with my daughter using my old dance costumes- oh the memories!
  • Playing flip cup with my entire extended family last Christmas (kids use water, don’t worry)
  • Building a crazy long slip n’ slide in my parent’s backyard this summer and going down in rapid succession with my husband, cousin and her husband. I would post the video, but the parties involved might not want it made public 😉
  • My kids teaching my dad to floss

Ways to play with family

How can you add more play into your life? How can you stop being so serious and just let go?

Peter Pan by Bros do Prose is the perfect show for kids of all ages, even my husband was grinning along with the plot. Here is the info:

Venue: Mercury Theater- 3745 N. Southport Ave, Chicago

Dates: November 3- December 23rd, Saturdays and Sundays at 11 am

Cost: Tickets are $20 and available online at MercuryTheaterChicago.com, in person at the box office or by calling 773.325.1700

Ages: The show is intended for ages 6 and up, but my almost 5 year old loved it.

Where to eat: Grassroots, which is attached to the theater, has a healthy kids menu and $15 Bottomless Mimosas and $6 Bloody Marys for Sat/Sun Brunch. #JustSaying

Bros do Prose- Peter Pan
Ella Raymont as Smee and Breon Arzell as Captain Hook; Photo Credit: Les Rorick

Cheers to learning about life through the magic of live theater!

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to Peter Pan for review purposes; all opinions are honest and my own.