Pacifier, The Self Control
The Pacifier is a hilarious family film that follows the story of Shane Wolf, a Navy Seal, who is tasked with the daunting job of protecting the five children of the Plummer family. Played by Vin Diesel, Shane is a very qualified and successful officer – however, the film circles around a moment where he fell short of this title.
One of Shane’s fellow agents was murdered whilst under the assigned protection of Shane. Shane is both disgraced and shamed in his field because of this. His new assigned task of “recovery” from his failure is to guard the recently deceased agent’s children, a humbling assignment compared to the rest of his typical intense job duties.
Obviously, Shane is not thrilled with this task. He is over-qualified, and feels unfit for this lowly task of “babysitting.” He spends a lot of the film coping with his own pride as it is met face to face with the humbling responsibilities that come with watching children.
A significant theme exhibited in the film is self-control. Shane displays this particularly in a scene where he encounters the arrogant Vice Principle, Mr. Murney, of the children’s school.
The oldest boy of the Plummer family, Seth, is getting picked on at school. When Shane comes to pick Seth up from school, he sees six boys surrounding Seth, taunting him and yelling jeers. He steps in and holds back Seth from fighting.
At this, Vice Principal Murney enters and simply dismisses the aggression of the bullies, saying, “boys will be boys.” Obviously Murney has his own agenda to fulfill – he clearly does not like Seth and is in no way going to punish the bullies. Shane remains calm through Murney’s continued mistreatment, even when he turns his taunts from Seth to Shane.
Murney continues to puff himself up – boasting about his “fighting skills” and how it landed him his position as the school wrestling coach. He even says to Shane, “Tell you what, maybe sometime you can pop by the wrestling class and, uh, show the boys how a couple of pros do it. What do you think? I’ll go easy on you.”
Shane exhibits serious control here. Obviously he could crush Murney like a grape; he’s a Navy Seal officer after all! But he responds by simply saying “I’m on duty.”
Let’s talk about this some more:
- How did Vice Principal Murney act?
- Who have you known who acts like that? And why do you think people act that way?
- What did you notice about how Lt. Wolfe acted the entire time Murney was talking trash?
- Have you ever known someone to remain calm and cool in the face of teasing or bullying like that? Describe the scene (without naming names if it would embarrass anyone we know).
- Murney is a prime example of a bully: his lack of consideration, prideful demeanor, and constant taunts… let’s face it – the man’s a weasel! I would have a hard time not wanting to give him a taste of his own medicine, especially if I was built as Vin Diesel!
- But that’s not what happened here. Shane remained calm through it all, refusing to stoop to Murney’s bottom-of-the-barrel behavior.
It reminds me of God’s call for us as Christians…
Read Proverbs 29:11
“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
- As long as you deal with people in your neighborhood or school, you may face situations like that from time to time. What does it take to maintain that kind of self-control in a similar situation? (In other words, how can you stay in control when someone gets up in your face like that?)
- Look up and read aloud Proverbs 26:4
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.”
- According to this verse, if we answer people with the same attitude they confront us with, what does that make us?
The Bible says that self-control is a “fruit of the Spirit,” that is, a result of surrendering our character and behavior to God’s Spirit to influence us. Think about how you would naturally respond when you feel disrespected. Reflect on that for a minute.
Showing grace to someone when we feel like they don’t deserve it is really hard. God’s Spirit, thankfully, is more powerful than our own attempts at living our lives will ever be. The more we talk to God – the more we pray – and align ourselves with His call for our character, the more we will see these “fruits” in our own lives. All we have to do is ask.
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for parents on his website TheSource4Parents.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.