So I started watching a new TV series and so far so good, I’ve been thoroughly impressed. The storyline is great, it’s made by ABC studios and called “Once Upon A Time”. The story is centred on a town in Maine called Storybrooke (don’t bother googling that, it doesn’t exist), and as the name implies, you’ll find all the story book characters we grew up knowing in it; Snow White, Prince Charming, The Huntsman, The Seven Dwarves, Little Red Riding Hood, The Evil Queen, Cinderella, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio and the ultimate Bad guy Rumpelstiltskin. Now in case you think you know how the story would pan out, I ask you to think again. The writers are good and the actors do it justice, so if you’re a movies person, I’d recommend it, it’s on its Third Season now.
Anywhoo, that’s not the gist, this column attempts to extract life lessons from these movies and I was able to pull one out of this too. It’s about the man Rumpelstiltskin, his (in) actions and how it relates to parenting. In the movie, Rumpel started as nobody, a lowly peasant labelled as the town coward, his life was so pathetic that his wife felt she had no choice but to leave him despite having a child for him and she followed the captain of a pirate ship that docked at the town port (Remember Captain Hook?). He was miserable, poor and could easily have given up if he didn’t have to prevent his son from suffering the same fate he did – living without a father figure. And as it stood, he had nothing in the world but his son.
There was a war going on and it had so ravaged the populace that the soldiers were recruiting children from the age of 14 upwards and his son would turn 14 in two days time. Now this was a man whose only reason for living is his son and the king wants to send the son to battle to die. He couldn’t live with himself if that happened, it’s one thing to be helpless about your own life but when it concerns someone who looks up to you, it’s a whole different ball game and it’s not easy to just sit by and do nothing. But in this case there was nothing he could do; he was powerless against this fate or was he? He thought long and hard and finally decided that they should run away. By nightfall, they took a lamp and ran, they hadn’t gone far when they were caught, the soldier asked for his name and when he said “Rumpelstiltskin”, the soldier laughed and told his son “do you know why your father here is called the town coward? It’s because he ran from the battlefield like a little girl” he and his men laughed hard “and now he is doing the same to you running like a coward” he threatened to throw him behind bars unless he begs him, the soldier made him kneel down and kiss his boot in order to let them go scot free.
If anything is obvious, it’s that his life had many problems (the more accurate thing to say is ‘his life sucked’) and needed serious fixing as soon as possible but he couldn’t see a way out. A beggar on the road told him about Dark Magic and how it would give him Power to control his own fate, save his boy’s life and do whatever he wants. Even if you are not desperate, that’s a solid pitch but to a desperate man who is about to lose everything, that’s a life-saver. Needless to say he took the beggar’s advice and got the magic and the power that followed, the one thing the beggar told him was “Every magic comes with a price” though he failed to mention how much. When the soldiers came to take his son the next morning, he killed them all, anybody goes as far as pushing the boy, the person had to be punished, and he became mean, wicked and unkind. His son pointed it to him and in his defence, he said “didn’t I walk into the middle of the battlefield and command both warring parties to drop their weapons and go home? Do you know how many lives I saved by that action alone? Enough for a dozen lifetimes I tell you”. The more power he got, the more he wanted and the more he got, the more he got the more his son was repulsed by him and was pushed away until he totally lost his son, the son ran away and never came back.
In fixing the faults of his own life, he ended up losing his son. He was no longer called the coward(no one dares try that); he could turn yarn to gold so he had wealth and power with fame to boot. But he lost the single most important thing to him – His son. Where is the lesson you might ask? Nobody is perfect and we all are trying to be better people. However we do that is the point of concern. If you start down a life of crime and wickedness to make money for yourself, if you go about making enemies without second thought, if you keep sowing seeds of wickedness, I think you should know that it’s someone that will reap it. Remember that Karma is a mean bitch, and she never forgets. If she doesn’t catch you, she’ll catch the ones close to you. A life for a life! Be careful you’re not living a life that is setting land mines for your offspring. Are you running an organization in trouble presently? Be wary of the choices you make in finding a way out; be sure it’s not a temporary fix that will result in a bigger tear after you’ve gone. We all will die eventually and it’s our actions and memories that will live on after us.
I have a friend who is chronically lazy; he would practically sit down and expect everything to be done for him. He doesn’t like to cook, sweep, wash and iron, he doesn’t like to go to the market, and he’s not good with homey stuffs at all. If you tackle him, he’ll tell you he has a plan. To deal with the laundry problem, he once said he’ll own a laundry business, get space, purchase a washing machine and employ staff to run the place while he goes about doing other things. That way, he doesn’t have to wash or iron again. Problem solved right? For the food conundrum, he also has a plan. He’ll own a restaurant! Where he’ll have a table in the corner and eat all his meals like a boss. He says he’ll make sure they are able to cook every meal he likes to eat properly. Another problem solved. As for the home situation, he’ll get a housekeeper that will take care of all that. All this before he gets married. Tell me that don’t sound great? Turning his own faults into money making ventures is genius.
Quick recap: you have a man who just sleeps and wakes up in his house; he does nothing whatsoever in its upkeep. This man will get married and have kids. The wife would only have to cook so no biggie unless she is lazy too and they both eat in “Our Restaurant”. But that’s not the real problem, it’s telling your child to go and cook and wash and sweep and do homey stuff when there is someone to do that for you. It’d take great grace for the child to obey so you run the risk of producing spoilt brats who won’t be able to do anything for themselves; a girl who won’t be able to cook and take care of the home isn’t on any guy’s wish list. Problem solved right? Err… I’d reckon no. In fact its multiple problems created. He ‘fixed’ his life only to create problems for his family. And that itself is a potential chain reaction.
So, in conclusion, find a way to fix your own flaws but also think about its potential future effects so that you won’t end up doing more harm than good in the long run. This is a wise course I tell you.
I remain @OverlordNoni