Grew up watching “Boy Meets World” so I was excited to hear the story and characters would continue for a new generation in the new Disney Channel show “Girl Meets World.” It makes the characters seem like real people. It’s probably one of the best sitcoms on television for kids. Wholesome and family oriented with some good life lessons.
Although sometimes aspects in the script really bother me. For any of you who watch the show, you’ll be familiar with the story lines and may share similar feelings.
Recently one character, Maya, a teenage girl who loves art, has an identity crisis all because of what her art teacher says to her at school about her painting. Instead of just critiquing her work, he essentially questions who she is as a person. Her identity. This sends her into a spiral.
The teacher doesn’t even know Maya well nor is he familiar with her artwork. How is he qualified to determine “who she is” or to judge whether or not her work reflects “who she is”? Why does the painting have to show “who she is” anyway? He could just decide if the painting was sufficient for the assignment and grade the painting. Teachers words can have powerful affects on kids, whether positively or negatively. His comment was out of line. But the show doesn’t address this or tell the viewers that Maya doesn’t have to agree with the teacher’s statement nor let it shake her. Maya decides who she is; not the teacher.
Maya is a beautiful, talented, special girl. Factors that do not change, regardless of her behavior or artwork. A teacher’s comment about one assignment doesn’t determine who she is.
Her best friend Riley could have just supported her and told her not to let the teacher’s comment bother her. Instead Riley starts harping on her too that she’s not acting like herself anymore.
The story is that Riley has influenced Maya so much that she no longer acts like herself but now acts like Riley.
The thing is, Riley has been a good influence on Maya. It’s okay for people to be a good influence on someone. It’s okay for people to change for the better. Changing one’s behavior doesn’t mean they’re not the same person anymore. People can still be loved, accepted and celebrated while at the same time seeing they need to change behavior. Before Maya was often rude and disrespectful to adults and people. That behavior needs changed.
People need to be able to separate “who they are” from “what they do.” Maya can still be beautiful, smart, talented Maya while still making changes to her life and behavior.
As Christians, we need to see who God says we are: forgiven, loved, accepted, valuable, treasured. You can look through the New Testament in the Bible and read where it says “in Christ” and “in Him” to find the truth about yourself. We are accepted in the beloved. And at the same time as knowing we are God’s beloved children, we can read where our behavior needs to change. And that’s okay. To know you are loved but let God change you. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:32).
Everyone needs direction. Everyone needs guidance. God gives us that in the book called the Bible. All of us need good friends who will influence us for the better and help us change for the better. Friends who will let us change for the better.
One more note about the show. These teens girls Riley and Maya are best friends who both want the same guy: their close friend Lucas. This gets a little weird. What’s worse is that Maya pushed Riley to like him in the first place. Riley really does like him and Lucas likes Miley. But then Maya decides she can “discern” Riley’s true feelings for Lucas and determines that Riley only likes Lucas as a brother. How convenient since Maya now decides she wants Lucas for herself. This causes complications and drama in their friendships because no one wants to hurt anyone. It’s good no one wants to hurt anyone but they can’t share the same boyfriend. As a true friend, Maya should just decide she’ll find someone else and let Riley have Lucas. Another way Maya needs to change her behavior.