Luisa: Our Family’s New Favorite Disney Character

“Pressure like a drip, drip, drip that’ll never stop…” Isn’t that the truth. We all feel it, parents and kids alike. But, we don’t always talk about it.

Personal photo taken in home on tv while watching Encanto

The first time we watched Encanto, my 9 year old son was instantly drawn to this song, and the character who sings it, Luisa. If you haven’t seen the movie, Luisa is the older sister of the main character, and her gift is strength. Each member of the household (except for one) has a magical gift, but Luisa is one that the entire town relies on to constantly use her gift, and because of this, she’s one of the first to realize that there is a problem that begins to plague the family.

We’ve been listening to Luisa’s song, Surface Pressure, on repeat at our house, and it’s given us a chance to talk about the pressure that we all feel. My son, being not only the first born in our family, but the first grandchild on his dad’s side of the family, feels a lot of pressure to set an example. On top of being the oldest, he’s also physically bigger and taller than everyone in his grade. He’s lived a life of people expecting him to act older and more mature than what most kids are expected to be because he has always looked older than he is. This seems to be more acute now that he is the same size as many adult women that he knows.

Luisa’s song talks about feeling the weight of other people’s expectations and how she’s not sure if she will be loved and accepted if she isn’t strong and handling every “burden.” We used this song to talk about how it’s ok to say that you are feeling overwhelmed, and that we will still love and care about him even if he can’t or doesn’t want to do it all.

I’m loving this movie because of all of the opportunities it gives to talk about mental pressures, stress, emotions, and family dynamics. This movie is really full of many different examples of people coming to grips with difficult feelings that kids and adults are often confronted with. In addition to that, I love that both male and female characters talk about their feelings and sometimes struggle to talk about their feelings. The movie really highlights how you don’t need to be “special” to play an important role in your family and to do good things.

Jill is a born and raised Wisconsinite. She grew up just outside of Madison before heading to northern Michigan for college. Afterwards, she returned to Madison where she married her high school sweetheart, Micah, and earned her PhD in Educational Psychology. Micah and Jill live just outside of Madison with their two children, Levi (5 years old), and Alice (3 years old), and they all love sports and being outside. When Jill isn't enjoying the local Madison parks and activities with her family, she loves to play board games, and relax at home with family and friends. Jill is a busy mom, an active member in her church, and enjoys her job as an Associate Professor of Psychology for a small liberal arts college.


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