I think perhaps a lot of people miss something about Peter Pan as a story. Peter Pan is a story about a great many things. But at its core is a story older than time itself. At heart, it’s a story about what happens when an individual doesn’t live with the fear of man (pleasing man) and time. While others do. Peter Pan takes one look at what the world is asking him to do and become, and he very clearly says, “no, thank you. I’ll pass.” Someone Probably argues that he forsakes responsibilities and runs from becoming who he’s called to be in the running away from growing up. When in reality, he doesn’t lay down either of those things at all. If you take time to sit with the character of Peter Pan, regardless of which version, you’ll find that he has a powerful moral compass, a sense of justice, and, contrary to what other characters around him, suggest an ability to read emotions well.
Peter Pan isn’t called to sit in an office in a nice suit and work 9 to 5 jobs punching numbers contained in an office building Or whatever things someone may have conceived for him to do in the world. And he knew that, and so he let the ideas of what the world and man thought he should become die. Here’s the thing, by allowing those things to die, he enables the Holy Spirit room to breathe and expand until the Spirit consumes everything he is. The rest of the world is concerned about what everyone else thinks about anything and everything, including themselves. Peter Pan could care less about their opinions of him. He’s not worried about running out of time because he has all the time in the world. He’s not called to be anything that they are, And even his expressions of their well-known roles are foreign to most people. So while everyone else is dying to“try to be a grown-up,”; he’s found what it truly means to grow up, and he invites others into that living, breathing revelation as well. And it confounds the world; it scares the world, and it’s stunning. Peter Pan is called to be the very embodiment of joy and childlike freedom. And he does all of it without forsaking justice or responsibility. He takes on more responsibility than most people could manage if you think about it.
Here lays the difference between Mr. Darling, Captain Hook, and Peter Pan.
Mr. Darling is constantly concerned with what society and the individuals he works with think of him. He’s a man who’s become consumed with the lie of performance and the fear of man. And regardless of if he means to George, Darling finds himself parenting out of those places and insecurities. Even though I know, he deeply loves his children. Because here’s another aspect perhaps people overlook about the story. Even though he often looks like a little boy, Peter Pan carries a fatherhood anointing to parentless, orphaned children. He’s lived through a lot and has been alive for a long time. He’s more of a man than any other man mentioned throughout the story. He parents six children on an island that is always living and breathing by itself, which is vastly unpredictable and not always safe. Or the island is, but not everyone on the island is necessarily safe. He chooses to parent out of the pure place of endless hope, freedom, and eternal joy. But he does it in partnership with the boundaries placed by the Spirit living within the island.
There’s a complete absence of fear in him, but he isn’t ignorant of the existence of fear either in contrast to Hook, who, in most cases actually, in all cases, is ruled by fear. Captain Hook is afraid of running out of time, death, and losing control. So he has to maintain control in every way that he can. A prisoner locked in a cage of his own making and honesty, he could deconstruct and break down the cage if he wanted the freedom offered to him each day when the sun rises. But he doesn’t take it, And eventually, his refusal leads to his death. Peter Pan is the man-child who calls living and dying the most extraordinary adventure because it is the most remarkable journey. And he’s not afraid of either side of it. The boy who learned long ago how to partner with the Spirit. The boy who flies higher than the birds themselves; changes the weather to match his moods and seasons; The boy who leads an entire generation of both adults and children in intercession to successfully raise Tinker Bell from the dead. And leads little children into liberated hearts raising them to tend their gardens found growing in the deepest part of their own unique hearts. Then when the time is right, he sends them back to a world that needs the same light and freedom.