I took my grandsons to see the classic children’s film, The Land Before Time. This heartwarming tale of baby orphaned dinosaurs teaches many life lessons in its 69 minutes.
Littlefoot loses his mother following a battle with a Tyrannosaurus during the great earthshake. There were four important scenes for me that beautifully depicted the sorrow of losing a loved one and the grief journey we endure as a result.
The first was Littlefoot’s mother explaining to him that she was dying but she would always be with him even though he won’t be able to see her. He asks, “What do you mean? I can always see you.” She tells him to let his heart guide him as he journeys to the Great Valley to reunite with his grandparents.
In another scene, Littlefoot feels immense sadness and even anger. He meets up with an older dinosaur and tells him that his mother died in a fight and he is angry that she took on a Tyrannosaurus… What was she thinking? Then he shifts to guilt… “I shouldn’t have wandered so far from home.”
In the picture shown here, Littlefoot has lost his desire and passion to search for the Great Valley. He is lethargic and dismisses any signs of hunger. Here he doesn’t even acknowledge the food brought to him by his new friend, Petrie.
The scene that gripped my heart the most was when Littlefoot sees his shadow, which is larger than life in the distance on a rock bluff, and he thinks it is his mommy. He calls her and runs to her. The closer he gets, the smaller the image becomes. As he jumps up and licks the image, which is now his size, he realizes that it is only his shadow. My heart broke for this little cartoon character, knowing that we all long to see our loved ones again and it’s common to be caught unaware and think we may even see them in a crowd after they have died. Logically we know it can’t be real, but our heart refuses to follow logic… it simply skips a beat (or many) and leaves us yearning and wishing that it were possible.
Littlefoot bands together with four other orphans along the way as he searches for his extended family. These little creatures are from different species and would not be allowed to associate with one another, let alone travel together, had the great earthshake not happened. But they put aside the prejudices they were taught to stick together. They fight famine and danger and beat all odds, eventually coming to the area of prehistoric Earth (Great Valley) which was spared from the big disaster. Littlefoot learns to follow his heart and look to his mother’s spirit as she guides him, just as she promised. He is reunited with his grandparents.
As we left the theatre and walked to the car, I chatted with my grandchildren about the great lessons of life that this film taught. It wasn’t lengthy. I kept it brief and talked about how our loved ones are always in our hearts even though we can no longer see them and that one day… no matter how long it takes… we will all meet up together in the lush, beautiful and carefree, Great Valley.