While in LA attending BlogHer 16, my mom, sister and I were given the AMAZING opportunity to see the screening of Disney’s Queen of Katwe by our friend Marshall Weinbaum from Disney (we love you, Marshall!!! :D) Needless to say, this was an incredible movie that is now my top favorite, and I am in awe of this film.
I almost never cry in movies, while my sister and mom are the crybabies of the family. Not only did Queen of Katwe have me in tears, but I was bawling and crying more than Elisha and mom put together!
Queen of Katwe is based on a true story about a slum child turned chess champion from Uganda’s worst slum: Katwe. After meeting Robert Katende, learning chess under his guidance, and discovering her talent at playing the game, Phiona’s life takes a wild turn and chess becomes her escape from poverty. It came out on September 23rd in select theaters, and everywhere on September 30th. I encourage you to watch it!
Not only is Queen of Katwe heartwarming and a family classic, but it also shares many valuable life lessons.
I’d like to share 8 powerful life lessons you can discover in Queen of Katwe:
- Never Surrender ~ In the movie, Phiona’s mentor, Katende, says, “Do not be quick to tip your king. You must never surrender.” This is a theme that shows up throughout the movie, because even though Phiona gets discouraged, she keeps moving on.
- Sometimes where you’re used isn’t where you belong ~ Phiona finds out that, as her coach said, “Sometimes the place you’re used to is not the place you belong. You belong where you believe you belong.” This is true of all of us. We must get out of our comfort zones and find an environment where we can live up to our true potential and grow! My mom has experienced this in her life. She grew up in a slum and always knew she wasn’t supposed to be there, so she got out and started a new life.
- You can become bigger than you already are! ~ Gloria says, “In chess, the small one can become the big one. That’s why I like it.” When she says this, she is referring to the fact that a seemingly worthless and helpless piece, the pawn, can become the most powerful piece on the board: The Queen. We can progress the same way the pawn does, too.
- Vision + Determination + Purpose = SUCCESS ~ In one scene of the movie, coach is telling a story about a dog chasing a cat. The dog loses, and he says: “I was only running for a meal I can get somewhere else. The cat? He was running for his life!” In conclusion, coach says: “You are all running for your lives.” This shows us that with a driving purpose and determination, we can do anything.
- “The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them” – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ~ This is the quote the Queen of Katwe trailer begins with. Often, we are tempted to play small and dream with a limit. But, as this true story shows us, when you dream outside of your limits is when the magic starts happening. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had dreams that no one thought could be achieved, but his legacy is still impacting our lives. (David Oyelowo, who played Robert Katende, also played Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie Selma!)
- You must be willing to take risks in order to achieve what you never dreamed was possible ~ Phiona asks her mom, “Can you do big things from such a small place?” She says, “Don’t think about such things. You might be disappointed.” Sometimes you are disappointed when pursuing your dreams, but we should be willing to take that risk. My mom’s mentor Jack Canfield (who also endorsed our book, I Love ME!) author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, was turned down 144 times for his first book, and has since earned two Guinness World Records, for Most Books on the New York Times best-seller list at one time 1999, and the Biggest Book Signing Event in History, for Chicken Soup for the Soul for the Kid’s Soul.
- Use your mind and have a plan ~ Coach Katende says, “Use your minds. Make a plan. There you will find safety.” As we analyze our situations and think ahead, we will find ‘safe squares’ on the chess board of our lives.
- Do not succumb to feelings of defeat ~ “Losses happen to everyone. But then you reset the pieces and play again,” said Katende. Losing doesn’t make you a failure, it helps you learn what you did wrong, and then you can do better next time! Thomas Alva Edison is a perfect example of this lesson. He tried many times before he got the light bulb right!
Queen of Katwe is such an incredible and outstanding movie that will tug on your heartstrings as it did on mine. You check out my mom’s experience at the Queen of Katwe red carpet and her movie review, too! She also interviewed the stars, Lupita Nyong’o, Madina Nalwanga, and Martin Kabanza, so stay tuned for more!