One of my favorite scenes from the Disney movie The Lion King is the dialogue between Simba and Rafiki, which inspired Simba to go back to Pride Rock where his mother and other loved ones were.
Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his walking stick, and after Simba expressed pain, Rafiki said, “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”
The exchange between these two animals is very profound. It teaches us to learn from events of the past and not run from them.
It is important to learn from the past for many reasons. We can grow as individuals, we can improve our society and I think the most important — we can learn from history so it doesn’t repeat itself.
Individual growth is vital and can’t be achieved if the past is so firmly held onto. In The Lion King, it is obvious that Simba didn’t grow to see his full potential until after he let go of his past and learned from it. The astonishing truth was brought to his attention that he didn’t kill his father nor that any of his family blamed him for the tragedy. He learned who he was and what he was capable of once he was able to learn from his past.
Timon and Pumbaa are humorous characters that add to the flavor of the movie, but because they live life relying only on bare minimum they also act as the force that holds Simba back as he blames himself for his father’s death. A lion, the king of the jungle, doesn’t need to live his life eating bugs and cowering at predators. However, as an outcast, that is what Simba’s new friends taught him to do.
Too often, we as individuals hold ourselves back by grasping to the past. We deny individual growth by holding ourselves at low standards. The phrase “we are our worst critic” is so true. We don’t see ourselves as others see us, nor in the way our Heavenly Father sees us.
We are lucky to have the opportunity to learn from our past. Individual growth is made possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The principle of repentance is the means by which we grow. Our past doesn’t have to define us because we can repent and grow from it.
We can also grow from the experiences we have. Each experience played a role in us becoming the people we are now.
Improve our society
After Simba’s interaction with Rafiki and time spent thinking about his father, Simba decided to go back to Pride Rock to take his place as king. He takes his own growth from past experiences to try to improve the community he belonged to.
As we continue to grow as individuals, we can help the communities and groups that we are apart of progress. Looking around in a group of people, you don’t see their pasts. However, each person’s individual growth and experiences contribute in a unique way.
Again, I believe this is part of Heavenly Father’s divine plan. We as individuals are different, but that difference is beautiful and makes us who we are.
We all fit into groups that are organized differently. For example, in a ward or branch, people make up the bishopric, ward council, presidencies and committees. Each of these groups have different individuals that add their own personal flavor to the team.
Collectively, each of these prospective segments makes up the ward and how it can, as a whole, best serve other members of the ward and people in the community.
Don’t repeat history
Simba’s individual growth partnered with improving the Pride Lands helped history not repeat itself. Over were his days of cowering from his past.
In our present life, we witness a lot of events we can’t exactly control, however, we can control the way we respond to these events. That is what leads to history repeating itself. When we make similar mistakes to ones of past individuals it signifies our inablilty to learn from their mistakes.
Looking at the past in regards to events happening around us right now, we know our country has a history of violence toward African Americans. Whether or not that violence had any sort of cause or instigation, it happens all the time.
Most recently the violent killing of George Floyd as a result of police brutality. This isn’t the first time an event like this has happened with no cause or source of fighting back from the victim. However, too often the police officers don’t suffer hardly any repercussions aside from brief media attention that dies away before there is change made.
Isn’t it time this violence ends? History has been repeating itself for years and years of violent deaths brought to innocent Black Americans.
We should look at the past, learn from it and improve as a society so that history doesn’t continue to repeat itself in this tragic way.
God wants us to learn from the past so that we don’t continue to repeat the mistakes of those before us. I love the stories told in the Book of Mormon. They highlight real-life circumstances that real-life individuals had to overcome. Nephi for one, constantly fought with his brothers. Time and time again he had to overcome obstacles put in his path by his brothers. Can’t we all relate in some way or another?
Simba helped to rebuild the lives of the animals in his kingdom by growing from his past and enduring his painful experiences. We can all use the past as a tool to grow and learn from so history doesn’t continue to repeat itself.