Monday, April 1, 2013

Scooby Doo, Life, and the Joys of Parenting

This was one of my daughter's favorite films
“Mommy,” my daughter asked one night on the phone. “Can you tell me a Scooby Doo story that you make up?” I groaned. Making up a Scooby Doo story is not terribly hard -- there are elements which are sure to repeat in every tale -- but making one up still requires concentration and energy. It was 9pm, and her phone call had dragged me out of bed. Not my most creative and imaginative time. Despite that, I sat back in my rocking chair and began: “One day Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred went mushroom picking in the forest....”

As the tale unfolded, I added in all the expected twists and turns: a ghost appeared warning the friends away, Velma lost her glasses, Fred ran away in terror without looking out for the girls, Shaggy and Scooby required two Scooby Snacks in order to become bait, the trap the friends set up failed, and Scooby and Shaggy accidentally trapped the villain while attempting to ran away. In the end, after exposing the ghost (it turned out to be Red Riding Hood), the friends went together to eat mushroom pizza.

I told the story and smiled to myself. It occurred to me that a Scooby Doo story is not that different from life. Am I not often warned away by mysterious fears? Do I not bumble about most of each day feeling near-sighted or blind? Embarrassingly, I can think of occasions where I (metaphorically) ran away without assisting someone under my care, and chocolate is without doubt my most effective motivator in any situation in life. When I succeed in solving whichever mystery I struggled under for days, it is almost always by stumbling on the solution and after making a lot of mistakes, and I’ll always consider eating pizza (not forgetting my gluten/dairy free restrictions) the very best finale.

GF/DF pizza
Taking my reflections even farther, a Scooby Doo story can be a metaphor for parenting as well, and as such it offers me great comfort. Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne always have the very best intentions. They are there to support those in need, solve mysteries, and expose fears for what they really are. Not that different from the work of a parent. Perhaps the gang does bungle most every thing they touch, but in the end, they are still somehow successful, and good intentions triumph over evil ones.

As a parent, I stumble in the dark more often than not. The only real tools I can depend on are my good intentions and the love that I bear for the kids. Scooby Doo gives me hope that those will be enough. “Those meddling kids!” The villains always complain at the end. “Those meddling parents!” My kids might say. But I hope that in time, over the course of their lives, they will end up appreciating what I’ve done, remember the good intentions and not the mistakes, and continue the tradition by enjoying their very own families, pizza, and Scooby Doo fun

1 comment:

I love hearing your thoughts!