Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Everything I ever needed to know

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A lot of times people joke around with the phrase, "I learned everything I ever needed to know in/from____________."  Well, I learned (most) everything I ever need to know from Boy Meets World--and no, I'm not really kidding.  Outside of the obvious influence of my family and church, the show was probably the biggest influence on my life values.

Shows like Boy Meets World and its TGIF companions aren't really in existence any more for kids.  We can lose ourselves in nostalgia on Pinterest all day long, but times change.  But I know my kids will be subjected to my DVDs during their lives because I think there's good stuff there.  I'd love to speak with the creators of the show someday and be able to discuss their motives and ideas during the show's run.

But for now, here are some lessons from that curly-haired guy every '80s/'90s kid loved...

Friendship. Cory and Shawn are one of the best examples of childhood platonic friendships in television. They share everything and know how to be there for each other.  They accepted blame for mistakes the other made and taught each other important lessons, usually without realizing it.

Family. Cory had great parents. He loved his parents and his siblings. He had the usual squabbles with his siblings and disagreements with his parents, but Cory was a darn good kid.  Even now I get the feeling that Amy and Alan are my parents when they're lecturing or instructing.  And the way that the Matthews family "adopted" Shawn, Jack, Mr. Feeny and others showed that family is not defined by blood.

Mentoring and the value of education.  How could the show have existed without Mr. Feeny?  He became overly involved in everyone's lives, almost to a point of absurdity, but he pulled those kids (especially Shawn and Eric) up to the height of their full potential.  Each of them thanked Mr. Feeny more than once for pushing them so hard.

Love, marriage, commitment.  Yes, I may have a Cory-and-Topanga-esque marriage, but everyone could learn this lesson.  Despite being a show primarily for the kids, we got to watch Cory's parents work through typical marital struggles.  We watched them show Cory and Topanga that breaking up wasn't always the answer to a disagreement--even if they were in high school.  Cory & Topanga and Shawn & Angela realized that living together was meant for marriage.  Cory and Topanga "waited" until they were married.  The struggles (and ultimately the rewards of those struggles) of early marriage were candidly displayed by Cory's parents and later himself.

God. No one on this show ever went to church, but the multiple references to God, prayer, and Judeo-Christian values really made me wonder what the writers and creators of the show had in mind. The main relationship of Cory and Topanga was a great example of a chaste teen couple.  Cory and Topanga pray together during their "living together" experiment.  Shawn turns to God when Mr. Turner is badly injured in a motorcycle accident.  Eric questions God when he befriends an orphaned boy before asserting that "[God] shouldn't have to take care of everything.  I will take of this.  I can be responsible for the happiness of one little boy."

If you're not familiar with the show, I encourage you to check it out.  I don't think it plays on any stations in the US anymore, but try Netflix or something.  No matter how questionable things in an episode might get, I promise that the "right thing" will come out on top.

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