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In the Disney/Pixar animated feature Finding Nemo, Nemo is a little clownfish who is in big trouble. In an act of rebellion against his father, Nemo defiantly swam away from the safety of the oceanic reef where he lived to touch a boat anchored in the open ocean. Before he can return to safety, Nemo is captured by a diver and whisked away in a plastic container.

He finds himself captive in the salt water tank in a dentist’s office in Sydney Australia. He makes friends with the other fish in the tank, but each of them knows the hopelessness of their situation. Nemo is nearly killed when an angelfish named Gill convinces him to try to help everyone escape to the open ocean. After the failed escape attempt Nemo is dejected. He knows that certain death is ahead, and there is nothing he can do about it. Even Gil who was so enthusiastic about the possibility of escape has lost all hope of ever leaving the tank that traps them. Nemo is not aware that his dedicated father has been fighting the odds to find and rescue him. Just when hope seems lost, Nemo’s strength is renewed when he learns his father cares and is on the way to save him.

OPTION I: Play clip from Finding Nemo, Chapter 17, News Travels, 58:50 to 1:00:37, and make application.

OPTION II: Describe scene and make application.

The news of Nemo’s impending rescue comes from Nigel, a pelican who lives in Sydney Harbor. In order to get to Nemo, Nigel runs into the window, and hides when the dentist comes to open it. Afterwards, Nigel keeps a wary eye out for the dentist, and whispers toward the fish tank, “Hey Hey, Psssst!” One of the fish in the tank who knows Nigel says, “Hey Nigel. You just missed an extraction.” Momentarily distracted, Nigel asks, “Oh, has he loosened the periodontal ligament with the elevator yet?” Then remembering why he came, Nigel says, “What am I talking about? Nemo. Where’s Nemo? I’ve got to speak with him.”

Hearing his name, Nemo swims up. “What, What is it?” Nigel points at the clownfish and begins his explanation. “Your dad’s been fighting the entire ocean looking for you!” Nemo acts confused, but perks up, “My father? Really?” Nigel continues the story. “He’s traveled hundreds of miles. He has been battling sharks, jellyfish, and all sorts of...”

Nemo interrupts,”Sharks?” He shakes his head, “That can’t be him.” Nigel looks at Nemo and asks, “Are you sure?” Searching his memory, he begins,” What was his name? Some sort of sport fish or something. Tuna? Trout?” Nemo injects, “Marlin?” Nigel practically shouts, “That’s it! Marlin, the little clownfish from the reef.” Hearing this news, Nemo starts to get excited. Speaking to the fish around him, he says, “It’s my dad. He took on a shark!” Nigel holds up three feathered fingers. “I heard he took on three.” The other fish respond, “Three?” One of them quickly does the math adding, “ That’s gotta be 4800 teeth!”

Nigel continues the story. “You see kid, after you were taken by diver Dan over there, your dad followed the boat you were on like a manic.” Nemo’s attention is fully focused on Nigel as he asks, “Really?” The music begins to swell as Nigel tells and acts out the story. “He’s swimming and swimming. He ‘s giving it all he’s got. Three gigantic sharks capture him, and he blows them up. Then he dives thousands of feet, where he gets chased by a monster with huge teeth. He ties this thing to the rock. What does he get for a reward? He gets to battle an entire jellyfish forest.” Nearly out of breath, Nigel slows down. “By now he’s riding on a bunch of sea turtles on the East Australian Current. The word is, he’s heading this way right now to Sydney.” The fish all cheer, but Nemo is no longer with them. Knowing his father cares and is coming for him renews Nemo’s hope. He has to follow through on the escape plan and be successful this time. When he completes the task, Gil encourages Nemo again saying, “That took guts, kid.”

-- Finding Nemo, Copyright 2003 Disney Enterprises/Pixar Animation Studios, Chapter 17, News Travels, 58:50 to 1:00:37 . Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell

APPLICATION: Fathers have great responsibilities for their families. Most children will never know the extent of the sacrifice their fathers make for them, or what they are willing to do to protect them. Marlin wasn’t trying to ruin Nemo’s fun when he warned him against swimming away for the oceanic reef; he was trying to protect Nemo. Nemo confused caution with a lack of courage. In the end, Nemo came to understand that having one, doesn’t mean you don’t have the other.

I know this is just a story from a children’s movie, but it reminds me of one reason we celebrate Father’s Day—when we lived with our Fathers, we probably didn’t understand them or why they did what they did—but now that we do, it is a good idea to tell them thank you.

Proverbs 3:12 (NASB77) “For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father, the son in whom he delights.”

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