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Lessons Learned From "The Middle"

The choice is yours at the end of the day

Recently, after commenting that I've been watching the same shows over and over for a few years like “ The Office” and “ Everybody Loves Raymond “ I was recommended to watch “The Middle”, and was told it was very funny. Once I had some down time I began watching it,and though it was funny, I noticed a very interesting life lesson I've never heard anyone mention.

Lessons Disguised in a Comedy Sitcom

The show depicts a low income family “The Hecks” living in the fictional town named Orson in the state of Indiana. During the show’s 9 seasons you see the family go through financial struggles, the kids go through school and the challenges that most go through in their academic journey, as well as the dysfunctions and blessings that come with parenting. Aside from the laughs I had with the show, there was one common denominator amongst most of their challenges as a whole.

I noticed there were a ton of terrible decisions made everywhere; starting with the parents and their parenting, communication style, obvious preference and neglect amongst their children, and what really caught my attention was their financial decision making. This show reaffirms in my mind that in life, when we are in a difficult financial situation, in most circumstances it's our own fault. Of course we all get curveballs in life that we weren't expecting, and we go through rough patches that we weren't prepared for, but in difference to the popular belief that we’re all victims of life, and everything bad comes from an imaginary conspiracy against us, and nothing is our fault; I believe that we have way more control than we are lead to believe.

On the show we have a Dad who went to college, and for years works as a manager in a quarry, and a Mom who does not finish college, and works in a variety of jobs like a car salesperson, and eventually goes back to school to become a dental hygienist. One thing that is consistent in all her employments, is that all of them are done in a mediocre manner. We see them as a family consistently late to everything from work, school, meetings, church, and important family endeavors. Francess Heck, nicknamed Franky, constantly complains throughout the 9 seasons about how hard it is to be a parent, the poor decisions her children make, the exhaustion of cooking, cleaning and taking care of a family while working multiple jobs to help their financial struggles, but for a person who has lived in true poverty, they might look at this family as a direct result of their nonsensical decision making.

What Changes I Would Have Made:

First thing I noticed, and I've seen in many other shows where they’re supposed to be in a tight spot is the constant drinking in the house. Don't get me wrong, I don't see anything wrong with having alcohol in the house if that is what you like to do to unwind after a busy and stressful day. As long as it's not an addiction problem, do what you need to do. What I do see a problem with is to see a person complain about having to buy the worst quality groceries, expiring foods, and having to penny pinch to feed yourself, but you’re never missing beer in your refrigerator. While we’re on the topic of food; how is it that a family that is struggling financially to keep the lights on in the house is shown eating fast food and take-out everytime they eat a meal as a family. Aside from the financial side of things, let's take a look at the health side of things; burgers and fries and stockpiles of cake frosting is another example of simply terrible life choices, not only for an adult, but these are the lessons passed on to their children.

In conclusion, the show is pretty entertaining but I find value in looking at everything I watch in a lens of; what can I learn from this? I heard a quote that states that how we do one thing is how we do everything, and this show is a perfect visual of that. If everything you do is done with procrastination, without structure and or discipline, in this show you learn what your life will look like when you live like the Hecks live.

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