The Great Lessons of Pinnochio


“Pinocchio is a fictional character that first appeared in 1883, in The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, and has since appeared in many adaptations of that story and others. Carved from a piece of pine by a wood-carver named Geppetto in a small Italian village, he was created as a wooden puppet, but dreamt of becoming a real boy.” (Wikipedia)

It has been a long time since I watched Pinocchio. I’m sure it has been decades! I viewed it the other night in preparation for a lesson. I was struck by the story line and how much it paralleled the plan of salvation. Geppetto carved a boy out of wood because he desired a “real” son. Geppetto created the boy after his own image. Miraculously the wooden boy named Pinocchio is given life and a chance to become “like” his father. Pinocchio goes through life making mistakes, telling lies, repenting, and vowing to do what is right. But, alas, he is a natural “wooden” boy who struggles with various temptations. He finds himself involved in gambling, smoking, drinking, brawling and vandalism. All the while his conscience, Jiminy Cricket, is encouraging him to do what he is right. Pinocchio wants to do what is right. His heart is in the right place but he can’t seem to overcome the “natural” man. It appears that all will be lost when, instead of turning into a boy like unto his father, Pinocchio starts to turn into a “donkey” due to his disobedience. He is about to fail in his mission to become a “real” boy. But just when all seems lost and he seems doomed to destruction, Pinocchio makes the decision to listen to his conscience, the spirit of truth. He repents and abandons his evil ways and returns home. Alas his father is nowhere to be found. A scroll is then dropped from the heavens, (scriptures) that lead him to the whereabouts of his father.

I’m sure you remember the ending. Pinocchio selflessly searches and finds Geppetto in the belly of the whale. His rescue attempt is successful but he loses his life in the act of saving Geppetto. As the lifeless wooden body lies upon a bed and Geppetto weeps by its side, a miraculous thing occurs. Life enters Pinocchio dead wooden body and transforms him into a “real” boy. He sits up to hug his father. Because he has given his life for another, he has earned the right to become “like” his father. The cat and the fish dance as the father and now “worthy” son embrace.

While the comparison between the story of “Pinocchio” and our lives might be a stretch, there is a lesson to be learned from this simple story. It is easy to recognize that the path Pinocchio takes is wrong, and self-destructive. Even a small child can recognize the errors of Pinocchio’s ways. Yet sometimes we find ourselves making “Pinocchio” mistakes. But the hope in the story of the wooden boy is that it is never too late! It is never too late to change or improve our lives and to learn from our mistakes! We can do the right thing if we so desire! Geppetto, the father, and Pinocchio, the son, rejoiced together as Pinocchio is triumphant in the end. Pinocchio had become converted to the principles of Christ. He learned to stop being selfish and started to serve others and in so doing saved himself. There is no quicker way to become like our Father, than following the example of our Savior, the consummate servant. Service, will turn any “wooden” man into a man of “flesh and blood.” The resurrection of Pinocchio is just a fairy tale. But the lesson is that all of us can change and become “real” men and women. All of us can enjoy the abundant life that awaits those who are faithful followers of the Savior. It is real!


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