Friday, November 10, 2017

Strange (but spot on) Life Lessons from Stranger Things

*The post below does not contain any spoilers. Please be mindful as well if you are leaving a comment.*


Original Image via Wikimedia Commons


My family is a huge fan of the Netflix series Stranger Things. We came late to the party and only started binge-watching last month but all three of us are hooked. I think the creators are brilliant for attracting at least two generations: mine (who's about the same age as the main characters in the '80s) and the youth now who can also somewhat relate to the young actors. Both generations are able to enjoy and the element of nostalgia makes watching the show doubly addictive. Netflix is actually upfront about the fact that the show pays homage to a lot of the '80s sci-fi classics a lot of us grew up with and love. 

Apart from excitement from the story line, it's worth noting that there are a few remarkable life lessons we can all latch on to. The beauty of it is that these are lessons presented simply that our young children can understand, and also ones that can further be elaborated on so that our kids can learn more deeply about relationships. In a way, I think the show can be a soft start, a friend to hold their hand, prior to the real rude awakening, if you will. After all, nothing is as simple as they seem, especially with life lessons!

Here's my take on the Stranger Things truth nuggets:


Compromise

In one episode, this concept was explained in simple terms by saying it means  both parties settle for 'half-happy'. 'Com' does mean 'together' so I guess one can look at it as being half-happy / half-unhappy together. I honestly thought that was brilliant! Then this got me thinking about how as grown-ups we always say relationships are all about compromise. And no relationship is immune to this reality, from mere acquaintances to our most intimate, truly significant ties. This then implies that in all of our relationships, we are in a state of 'half-happiness'. I'm not saying we are unhappy or perpetually unfulfilled. I think along the way we learn to adjust our expectations depending on how much we value a relationship, and realize that an acceptable supply of 'half-happiness' makes us happy overall and keeps us afloat. What I'm saying though is that anyone who says they are 100%, completely happy, ALL THE TIME, is lying. And if they are, then they're not your friend because....


Friends don't lie


Any fan of the show knows the weight of this line. It's a pact made among the young main characters that solidifies their friendship. It's really one of the core definitions used on the show to explain what a friendship means and what it alludes to, more than anything, is the element of trust; that to be a true friend is to learn to trust and be trustworthy in return. However, maturity has also taught us that trust is earned. You don't earn nor give it away so quickly and fully to anyone you've just met. It takes time. In reality, when you first develop friendships, you do need to trust a little...and then some more, until you can trust fully depending on how much you have given and taken, to and from each other. You don't give away all your truths in one go. But withholding some things doesn't necessarily mean you are lying. You are still being honest and being a friend even though you are rationing your truths. It's true that friends don't lie. Just know that it also takes time and effort to be fully taken at your word. 


"Promise?"...

"...Promise!" This is an oft-repeated line between Eleven and the other characters. As a viewer, young or old, every time you hear this word uttered on the show, you know that there's a crucial subtext: It's that though one's intentions are pure, when you say 'Promise', you are really only hoping for the best. It's more an expression of intent than a guarantee that things will turn out as planned. When you're young and brimming with naivete, your view of reality is still narrow, lacking in understanding that there are variables no one person can possibly control all the time and there there is such a thing as unintended consequence. However, it's this quality of youth that makes the show's characters endearing and have us all coming back for more episode after episode. 


So there you have it, my 'adult' and somewhat cynical elaborations on some of my favorite Stranger Things words of wisdom. I hope they made sense whether you're a viewer of the show or not. It's the most I could do without giving away too many details. You just have to take my word for it that the show is good and worth your time. I promise! 
😜










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