Monday, November 4, 2013

Life Lessons from Once Upon a Time

If you follow my facebook feed, you probably already know I'm a huge fan of ABC's Once Upon a Time, but what about the life lessons we can learn from the show?

And, yes, me and my darling children often talk about stuff like this...heehee.

5. Adoption is wonderful.

The show manages to explore very different adoption stories. Emma's parents shoved her in a magical tree and saved her from a curse that ripped through their world by transporting her to our world--magicless, parentless, alone. Sent into the system, she never really finds a place to call home and is alone and imprisoned because she turned to a life of crime...

Her child is Henry, a beautiful boy adopted by an evil queen. Emma knew she couldn't give Henry what he needed in life, so she put him up for adoption and Regina became his mother.

Henry got two parents out of this deal--Regina AND Emma. I've seen a lot of real life adoption stories work out and for those who think kids cannot become family if they're not part of your genetic code, this show really explores the fact that family isn't carried solely on chromosomes. Family is the people who care, the ones who fight for you.

Regina IS Henry's mother. She changed his diapers, taught him to walk and read, loved him from the moment she met him. Emma IS Henry's mother, she never stopped loving him because she gave him up for adoption. While she wasn't with him, she carried him in her heart just as truly as she carried him in her body.

Real life is like this--we might find family that's not blood, whether through adoption or friendship, and it doesn't diminish our love for those who we're connected to biologically. It fills a need, gives us more to love...and I don't know that I've seen it represented this well on any other program.

4. True Love doesn't magically fix everything.

Charming and Snow are in true love, but it's not a magical fix for their problems. It can be argued that Bae and Emma are also examples of true love--again, not a sure thing for forever. While true love is a wonderful gift, something mystical and spiritual and altogether rare, it's not a wonderwand that sweeps in and removes the drudgery of day to day problems.

When we're young, we maybe believe that love can conquer all, but at the end of the day, love can't pay the electric bill. Exploring that with fairy tale characters is just AWESOME.

3. The line between bad and good is grayer than we'd like it to be.

Regina is the 'evil queen', Snow is the 'good guy', Emma is the product of True Love--Magic come to Life. 

Yet Regina isn't all evil and has been known to do some really good and selfless things. Snow has made mistakes. Emma flat out admits she'll never be as goody goody nice as her parents and is willing to make tough choices if she has to.

While it's easy to judge and say this is 'good' and this is 'bad', there's a giant gaping wound of gray area where things aren't either. Is it wrong to steal if you're feeding your starving child? Is it wrong to kill if you're a soldier? Is it right to sacrifice if there are people who depend on you and you're letting them down?

This show revels in the gray area, riffing off it right and left, leaving the viewer to decide who is 'good', 'bad', and who just got the short end of the stick. In real life? We do that every day, whether we realize we're deciding or not.

2. You can't run from your problems.

You can cast a curse and remove all magic. You can go for revenge. You can run away. You can move away and start a new life...

Your problems will catch up with you. Always. Better to slog through dealing with them than chase the idea that there is a magical getaway from the reality of them.

1. There is no such thing as a 'happy ending.'

There's no 'ending' other than death. Happiness is fleeting, so you're better off stringing together as many happy moments and surrounding yourself with people you love so that when the storms do hit, you're in good company than trying to pretend you can find that mythical playground where bills don't suck, people don't get sick, no one hurts or is sad.

It's the company that makes the storms more fun and sometimes allows you to dance in the rain.

Happy writing!!

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