Tonight we are having a Johnny Lingo activity with the 16-18 year old girls at our church. We are focusing on Individual Worth this month, and even though she knew nothing about this classic LDS movie our Laurel class president agreed to trust her leaders when we suggested watching it.
I love Johnny Lingo. Although it was filmed 40 years ago, I think it still delivers an essential message--that our true worth is not determined by how others view and treat us.
Johnny Lingo is a story about a island trader who agrees to pay a record number of cows in order to marry the woman he loves. Mahana grew up being treated poorly by her father and those that lived in her village and came to believe she was ugly and because of that treatment. But Johnny Lingo saw her true value, and paid more for her than any other husband had paid for his wife. He did this so she would know she was worth more to him than any one else. This gesture of love gave Mahana the inner confidence needed to allow her true beauty to shine through.
Although the main message of this film appears to be focused on physical beauty, I believe it really goes much deeper. The fact that her husband paid a record number of cows for her didn't change how Mahana looked, it simply changed how she felt about herself. And once she felt that she had value, she was able to get past that negative image that had been instilled in her throughout her live and become a happy woman who could fulfill her full potential.
What a great reminder to all of us to stop listening to the harsh criticisms that come from the world. We are all children of God and our divine potential is not determined by the world. I can't wait to share it with our girls, and hope they will all come away with a belief that they too are 10 cow women!