Saturday, July 30, 2011

Even a Pastor Needs a Disney History Lesson

I attend a church where the pastor uses real life examples to demonstrate a point. I'm not going to say he embellishes his examples, never mind, I will say it - he embellishes his examples from time to time. Now even a pastor can stand to learn a lesson here and there and in this pastor's case the lesson is never use Walt Disney or Disneyland as an example for anything unless you have your facts straight.

So I'm sitting there one Sunday and the pastor starts talking about a biography he is reading about the life of Walt Disney. His story went something like this..... Walt Disney would come home from work at night greet his young daughters with a kiss, eat dinner with them, read to them, and tuck them into bed - traditional American values of pretty much a bygone era. He didn't talk to them about his work or what he did. His time with them was their time. And all of this may be perfectly true but here is where the pastor's story takes a turn. He went on the stay, the next day his daughters would go off to school (using kindergarten in the story) where they would proceed to tell to tell their school friends about how their dad would read to them and tuck them into bed. The school friends of the Disney daughters would exclaim to them "we don't want to hear about that, tell us about Disneyland, your dad built Disneyland, tell us about the park and what's new". Well, as the story goes, the Disney daughters didn't really know how to react to their friends remarks because the dad they saw at night didn't talk about Disneyland or cartoon characters. He was a warm, kind, loving father who made his daughters feel like they were the special ones, not parks and cartoons. The Disney home may have been all of that. From what I know, the Disney daughters (only one of which is living) speak glowingly of life with their father (interestingly enough, Roy E. Disney, Walt's nephew, seemed to tell a little a different story).

But at the end of the pastor's story, my ears perked up and I began doing the math. Diane Disney Miller, Walt's daughter, is now in her later 70's. As of this writing, Disneyland is 56 years old which would make Diane in her early 20's at the time the park was built. So the pastor's example was an embellishment. It's a huge church (about 9000 people a week attend services) so the idea of me shaking the pastor's hand at the end of the service and gently correcting him on his facts wasn't going to happen. I thought about sending him an email, but someone in the staff probably would have intercepted it. But in a church that large there are probably hundreds of Disney fans and  I can only think that somewhere along the line, one of those fans pulled the pastor aside and told him that just maybe, you might have been a little off in your facts.

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