6 Valuable Life Lessons We Can Learn From Ferris Bueller

by Kiah Cato

If you haven’t seen the John Hughes’s classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” stop what you are doing immediately and find a copy for viewing.

As an avid movie-watcher and fan of coming-of-age tales, I would dub the film starring the young Matthew Broderick to be necessary viewing-material for our entire generation. The 1986 classic tells the tale of Ferris Bueller, who, on a sunny day, decides to fake sick.

Adventure ensues, as he ropes in his best friend, Cameron Frye, and girlfriend, Sloane Peterson, to join him for a day out in downtown Chicago, all while being stalked by his suspicious principal, Mr. Rooney, and thwarting close-calls of being caught by his family.

While the film provides top-notch entertainment and quality comedic timing, it is also offers a valuable take on what it means to enjoy life. Since this topic is often unintentionally overlooked, I give you the eight most valuable life lessons taught by “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”:

The Value Of Thinking Ahead

Ferris’ heist never would have worked out if he hadn’t planned extensively beforehand. This preparation included clammy hands, a pre-recorded intercom message to answer the doorbell, a mannequin in his bed, personally calling Mr. Rooney to cover his tracks, altering answering machines and sound effects that mimic noises of illnesses.

If you want something, plan it. It's very hard to achieve success without a vision. If you’re one-step ahead of everyone around you, the likelihood of failure diminishes significantly.

It Is Not Helpful To Dwell On Others

From the first scene of the movie, Ferris’ older sister Jeanie is enraged by her parents’ decision to allow her brother to stay home from school. Throughout the film, she grows angrier as the school seems convinced that her brother has some life-threatening disease.

After fuming in an empty corridor, she decides that something must be done and the truth must be revealed. Her plan sadly backfires and she ends up waiting at the police station to file a report against Mr. Rooney, who is also trying to expose her brother. In the station, she meets Charlie Sheen, who ends up being very wise despite his “bad boy” image and offers some choice words:

“You ought to spend a little more time dealing with yourself, a little less time worrying about what your brother does.”

Confidence Is Key

If you do not go after what you want with certainty, the world will respond the same way. In every potential catastrophe, Ferris, Sloane and Cameron all committed to whatever role they took. For example, when they attempt to be seated at fancy restaurant, Ferris pretended to be someone else and committed to the lie convincingly. He enlisted his friends to talk to the host on the phone to convince him of Ferris’ false identity. On that note, we also learn about…

The Helpfulness Of Technology

It seems that there is always some new fad technology coming out, and often, I’m hesitant to jump on the bandwagon knowing that the hype will likely die down (BBM, anyone?). But, it is always good to at least be aware of what exists and what is new, as technological advancements only make our lives easier.

Take Charge of Your Own Life

From the beginning of the film, we know that Cameron isn’t exactly the happiest guy around. In fact, one might describe him as depressed. He lives in a nice house with controlling parents and is afraid to do anything that will shake the balance of his life. After unsuccessfully trying to roll back the odometer in his dad's 1961 Ferrari 250, Cameron accepts his fate and has this epiphany:

“I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I'm going to take a stand. I'm going to defend it. Right or wrong, I'm going to defend it.”

Take Advantage Of Days Off

A day off is a rare treat in most of our lives. Ferris Bueller spent his day sightseeing, pool hopping and joining a parade with his closest friends. This movie is basically the definition of “carpe diem.” As Ferris so famously quips in his opening monologue:

“Life moves pretty fast; if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Photo credit: Ferris Buellers Day Off