1) Her Kind Attitude
In the new film, this is presented as an attribute she learned from her mother. It is true that her kindness is presented as one of her greatest attributes in almost all of the different versions of her story. Some of her critics would present this as one of her greatest weaknesses, because she allowed her stepmother and stepsisters to walk all over her. Although it is true that her kindness was used against her in this way, kindness is not a weakness and should not perceived as such. The desire that her mother placed in her to be kind turned into so much more. It made Cinderella compassion, selfless, and gave her a heart for both people and animals.
2) Her Courageous Heart
The new film presents this as another tract she learned from her mother. Having courage was also quite crucial to all that Cinderella would face. As if facing the death of both her parents wasn't hard enough, she also had to face losing everything else and being disowned by the rest of her family. That is a lot to have to face at such a young age (she was only nineteen when she went to the ball). These experiences could have been quite negative, but she turned that into courage to face whatever life brought her way. She never faltered or gave into fear. That's pretty amazing and very inspiring to children and adult alike.
3) Her Hopeful Outlook
Cinderella didn't have much to hope for. Her life was bleak and difficult. Her parents were dead and the only other family she had hated and abused her. Her only real friends where animals. They had even resorted to only calling her a terrible nickname. But she still had hope. Even when things looked darkest, she clung to a hope that a better day was to come. Even when she was at her lowest low (after her stepmother and stepsisters damaged her mother’s dress) and she claimed she had no more hope, her fairy godmother said, “If you had lost all hope, I wouldn't be here, yet here I am.” Cinderella had even more hope in her soul than she realized. As Christians, we should have just as much hope, because ours is a Living Hope.
4) Her Submissive Spirit
The word submission is looked down on negatively in our culture and our world today. They look at characters like Cinderella and say that her desire to submit meant that she had no backbone and could only be rescued by a man. That is absolutely ridiculous! I believe that it is quite the opposite. There is more decision or opinion involved in submission that most people realize. When you begin to see submission in its correct context, you realize that it comes down to a matter of choice.
5) Her Forgiving Nature
Cinderella truly had every right in the world to hold a grudge against her stepmother and stepsisters. She have every right to be angry and bitter by the world’s standards. But she did not choose that path. She was patient and understanding about the way they treated her. Her kindness, courage, and hope never faltered through all they did to her, even after they abused her, humiliated her, gave her a horrible nickname, and damaged her mother's dress.
Her kindness, courage, and hope gave her the ability to keep her heart from the bitterness and angry that is so prevalent in those that have been treated in similar ways. This gave her the ability to forgive, even though it wasn't easy. At the end of the new movie, she actually tells her stepmother that she forgives her. That is truly incredible. I don’t know if I could do that. But I think there is something that children and adults alike can learn from it.
It's Not About the “Happily Ever After”
Don’t get me wrong, I love happily ever after’s as much as the next girl or Disney fan. But that’s not why I love Cinderella. To me, Cinderella is so much more than a princess or fairy tale character. She is a character that I want to be like in more ways than one. I will never forget how I came to view Cinderella and her character in this way. About January of 2012, my youth minister at the time was doing 30 Day Disney Character Challenge on Facebook (like all those "30 Day Photo Challenge" things that were popular at the time). When he listed his favorite Princess, he said Cinderella and mentioned her attitude and her heart. But there was one other comment he made about her that stuck out to me and remained with me ever since. He said, “Even if she didn't get her happy ending, her story would be worth telling because of the life she led.”
The more I thought about it, the more I agreed. If Cinderella had been stuck as a servant the rest of her life, or had gone to the ball but never tried on the glass slipper because she was locked in the attic, her story would still be worth telling because of the person that she was. She would have a legacy of kindness and courage that would have honored her parents' name, and that probably would have satisfied her. If I end up with half of Cinderella’s kindness, courageous, hopefulness, submissiveness, or her ability to forgive, then I will be better person, even if I don’t have a happily ever after of my own. That is what I want to strive for in my own life.