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Monday, July 1, 2013

Maybe We Really Did Learn Most Everything We Need to Know in Kindergarten ... or Thereabout

The Sweetest Baboo and I just watched Matilda, the movie based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name. It's not that we haven't seen it before ... we used to own the DVD when we still had young 'uns in the house. Nor were there any kids around to give us an excuse to watch it this time. It's just that sometimes you need reassurance that the Miss Honeys of the world prevail and the Trunchbulls in our midst don't end up succeeding. 

"I'm right, you're wrong ... I'm big, you're small ... and there's nothing you can do about it." It's the philosophy of Matilda's dad and of the Trunchbull. Throughout much of the movie it seems to be true too. What can a little kid or a sweet, mild mannered teacher do in the face of that kind of power or that kind of attitude? But by the end of the story, the narrator tells us that "Matilda found to her great surprise that life can be fun ... and she decided to have as much of it as possible. After all, she was a very smart girl."

It's one of those kinds of stories that, as a grown up, I need to be reminded about every so often. The fact of the matter is that I do believe that Miss Honey's way is better than the Trunchbull's and I do think it's better to be like Matilda than to be like her parents Harry or Zinnia. I know that it is better to be loving than hateful, better to be kind than to be mean, and that it is better to suffer at the hands of unjust power than to wield unjust powers over others. But it is one thing to know those notions in my head and quite another to remember them in my day to day dealings with other people when lashing out in anger seems so much handier or it seems like the bullies always get their way while the meek get put in the Trunchbull's chokey.

So, tonight, we watched Matilda. We watched it an laughed at how ridiculous the Trunchbull could be and we rolled our eyes at how horrible Harry and Zinnia were as parents, but most of all we delighted in the fact that a very smart girl who loved to read books and a very kind teacher who recognized the good in every child found out that heroes don't just appear in fairy tales and that real life can have happy endings.

And now, at least for a while, I'll be able to better remember that all of that is true in my grown up world as well.