A good movie for this subject is Disney's Aladdin. In the beginning of the movie, Aladdin believes he's not good enough for the girl he loves, so he creates – with the Genie's help – the persona of Prince Ali. In this new identity he starts lying, breaking promises, and turning on friends all just to be "who he is." By the film's end, however, Aladdin decides it's better to live an honest life rather than one based on wishes. Aladdin is a good way to teach kids about discovering their identities, and could also help parents begin dialogues about what it really means to be a Christian.

We used the metaphor of a diet earlier in this essay. And like any actual way of eating, an imbalanced and unchecked intake of modern movie motifs can cause a type of over-encouraged, under-prepared-for-harsh-realities obesity. And all animated films are not created equal (Turbo is hardly Beauty and the Beast and Planes doesn't fly as high as Up). But before we throw the genie out with the bottle, if you will, let's remember the positive possibilities beyond the self-esteem and dreams-come-true surface simplicities of animated fare. Biblically supported messages of responsible maturity are there for the discussing if you’re willing to look for them.

Publication date: September 10, 2013

Ryan Duncan is Crosswalk.com's Entertainment Editor. Crosswalk.com Managing Editor Shawn McEvoy contributed to this article.