Lessons from Avatar: the Way of Water

Spoilers alert.

Just watched Avatar: The Way of Water today, on the second day of the new year.

I liked the first one. I watched it a few times, and I remember how I was drawn into the idyllic life of the Na’vi people. The level of details that was portrayed in the movie was astounding.

I have heard mixed reviews about the second one. After watching it myself, I liked it as much as the first one. The imaginary world of Pandora and the technology portrayed in the movie is just as refreshing and captivating. As someone who likes to reflect, these are some lessons I have drawn from the movie.

Happiness is simple, yet it can be fleeting

What I consider the mundane, the unexciting, is actually true blessings in life. Simply being with my family, having meals together, watching the children learn, squabble, sleep, play… these are what happiness is made of. However it is also very hard to perceive it when I am going through the mundane. It takes a good movie to remind me of what I have.

I’m also reminded that such simple happiness can be fleeting. What I take for granted, may not always be there. At the end of show, after Jake Sully and Neytiri lost their firstborn, they get to relive a scene from his childhood in a vision, I was moved almost to tears.

Letting Go

Jake Sully is a war hero, the legendary Toruk Makto, the leader of his clan. Yet to save his family and his tribe. he choose to let go of his title and his honor, to go into exile into a foreign land, where he has no title, no vocation, and no privileges. He firmly places the safety of his family and his people ahead of his own career.

A father protects. It’s what gives him meaning.” – Jake Sully, Avatar: The Way of Water

I resonate with that. My first and foremost ministry is my family, and then it is to the people I serve. My personal glory is irrelevant.


Through the two Avatar movies, Jake Sully has always been learning and adapting. In this second movie, it is especially obvious, since he starts out as an established warrior, skilled and held in high esteem by his people. Yet, when he arrives at a new place, he has to swallow his pride, avert confrontation several times for the greater good, and pick up new skills quickly.

At this stage of my life, I have some experience as a teacher. I know I can teach, yet do I stay complacent and comfortable doing that only, even when circumstances has changed? Learning new skills and doing new things will necessarily make me look foolish and makes me frustrated, yet it is essential to move forward.

There will be other lessons to be gleaned from this epic movie, but three is enough for now. I hope you will enjoy the movie as much as I did.


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