Lessons on Life from Puss n Boots

Jon Acton
5 min readFeb 28

Lessons on Life from Puss n Boots — The Last Wish

My wife and I recently took our seven year old son to see the Dreamworks movie Puss n Boots — The Last Wish. An artistic spin off from the catalog of Shrek films of the 2000’s. This cartoonesque film was well written with engaging characters, humorous dialogue and a storyline that threw a surprising gut punch to my heart.

The short version to Puss n Boots quandary was learning he was on the last of his nine cat lives. No do overs, no time outs, no extra takes; just a talking cat learning to face his own feline mortality. Quite literally confronting death face to face and experiencing the fear of the Grim Reaper dressed in wolf’s clothing.

Puss n Boots did not take his initial conversation with Death well. After a very brief dose of milk infused machismo, Puss n Boots yells defiantly “Fear me if you dare,” before battling death only to discover THIS opponent is different. This is an opponent that cannot be defeated. Puss n Boots experiences fear for the first time in any of his nine lives. The type of fear that raises the hair on the back of your neck, or in Puss n Boots case, raised fur all over his body. Death is an opponent that even the heroic Puss n Boots cannot defeat. To merely survive, he ran away to hide from Death. A heroic life now minimized to breathing instead of living.

Like Puss n Boots, death will come for all of us. What we do with our life is that difference between just breathing and living. Similar to Puss n Boots, I have already used up some of my lives/opportunities. I haven’t spent eight cat lives, but I have miraculously escaped death’s clutches more than once. In my early 20’s, I was diagnosed with advanced Crohn’s disease and would spend a month in a hospital’s ICU due to a ruptured colon. My body would go into sepsis and for added fun, I coded with two collapsed lungs. I am not a doctor, but I can speak with a high degree of authority that one of those scenarios on their own is bad. Both of those scenarios at the same time, is really, really bad. Through the power of prayer and some highly skilled doctors and nurses, I “Survived and Advanced”, to quote the March Madness mentality.

Rather recently, a tap of car breaks was the split second difference between being T-boned on my driver’s side car door by a speeding, non-red-light observing car or having the entire nose of my car ripped off. Brake tapping avoided being T-boned, and I realized how lucky I was to…

Jon Acton

Husband, Father, Former School Superintendent, National Blue Ribbon School Principal, Teacher, Coach, Author in progress