I wanted to start off by saying that the inspiration for this post came from a most amazing source. Recently my wife brought to my attention a brand of roll-up plush toys called Popples.
For those of you who don’t know, Popples are these cute critters that get around by rolling up into a ball. Starting out as a cartoon series in 1986 the Popples plush toy line was a big hit. Sacha and I were sitting at our computers looking up a particular awesome purple Popple from her past. We are surfing the net when I find out that Netflix has relaunched the brand in a new Tv series. This news gets my wife really excited. Who wouldn’t be happy at the revitalization of an epic past memory?
Of course, at seeing her excitement I am all in to watch this new show with her. We turn on the TV and fire up Netflix; Boom we are now emerged in a Popple adventure.
The plot and my point
One great thing about TV geared towards younger children is that each episode tries to drive home a lesson. Each episode, the Popples are faced with some sort of adventure or circumstance in which their choices have cause and effect. The aim of which is to help children understand the right and wrong ways to handle something. In this particular episode, Bubbles a Cheerful Popple with a love of all things cute, is running for class president. Running against her is Mike, an envious Green Popple. Mike is the benchmark on the show of how not to handle a situation.
Finding himself suddenly competing against Bubbles, Mike instantly knows he can not win. Bubbles is a good person that treats others with respect and kindness. Mike, being a rather manipulative little Popple, decides he is going to “drop out of the race”. It’s a ploy, of course, to pit Bubbles against her best friend Sunny. After tricking Bubbles into saying something out of context, which he records in secret, he plays back the recording to Sunny. It says that Bubbles does not think Sunny is a threat. By doing this, the two best friends are now trying to out do each other and they are both unhappy. However, rather than the plot coming undone, the two Popples take the time to talk out their issues. In the end Mike, was forced to finish running against a united front of Popple sisterhood.
It was the twins, “Not Me” and “I Don’t Know”
The problem with Mike, and this really rings true for a lot of humanity, is that nothing is ever Mike’s fault. Mike treats the other Popples like a commodity and he manipulates them and uses them selfishly for his own gain. Of course, Mike’s plans never turn out in his favour.
In every situation, Mike’s natural response is to blame someone or something else. He’s never the master of his own destiny or in control of his outcomes, because he believes others should become responsible and displaces the blame… and the accountability.
One point this show pushes? Solving your problems through self improvement. No matter how big the problem or how much work needs to be done to fix it, the Popples get it done.
A new way of life through self improvement
First things first, you have to do away with phrases like “I can’t” or, “It’s too hard” and, “Why does life hate me?”. Life is hard – that’s a fact! That is still no reason to give in or wait for others to pick you up. You are the master of your own destiny regardless of circumstance; You always have options. Sometimes the options we are faced with suck though how you handle them and what you gain are very important.
It’s easy to blame “Bob” for losing the big game and it’s easy to take out your feelings on someone else. The thing very few people want to do is look inward when things go wrong. Rather than giving Bob a hard time for missing that last goal, think what you can do to make yourself better. How can I change and adapt to this situation? It is very easy to place blame and never move forward. The trick comes when you stop complaining to everyone and stop dwelling on the unfairness of it all, good things will happen.
For example, rather than refusing to forgive Bubbles, Sunny takes the time to see past Mike’s lies. Together Bubbles and Sunny take a united stand against Mike to secure the class presidency. Sunny made a conscious choice to be a good friend, to take the time to check all her facts and move on. Being able to identify when you are dwelling on something that is unhealthy is a useful skill. If you find yourself sitting around filled with negative thoughts and you just can’t shake it, we’ve got a workbook for that!
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Self improvement in action
Around our household, we sit and watch children’s shows all the time. Good values, strong messages, and friggen cute to boot. For us, that’s a rather effective tool, but that’s us. You might need a little more help. Here are some trick’s I’ve picked up, and a few more my wife added!
Get Back to Basics
Since we’re on the topic of kids shows, let’s talk about getting back to the basics. That means those core values children learn in such shows:
- Be yourself, no matter how odd/strange/different you are!
- Stay positive no matter how hard things get!
- Teamwork is supreme, always!
- Be fearless because fear rarely helps a situation!
- Be a good, kind, caring, sharing friend!
These core themes show up in every children’s program one way or another. That means we, as adults, make sure we have this under wraps.
Listen to Your Inner Popple
When in doubt, trust your moral compass. Or, as we call it around here, your “Inner Popple”.
We all have that little voice inside us that tries to tell us right from wrong. Sometimes it’s a train of audible thoughts in your head, other times it’s that gnawing gut response telling you something is amiss.
That cue is there FOR A REASON. Ignoring it is the worst thing you can do. It’s not just about survival but protection of oneself. Do yourself a favor, listen next time, and reward your Popple’s good judgment.
Give Peer Pressure the Squeeze
Seriously, stop listening to other people. What happened to the days of scientific proof, verified resources, and common sense? (*cough* …social media… *cough*)
It’s easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing and feeling. As adults, it’s our responsibility to be aware of it, and know when to step back. Just because Joe Schmoe is going to jump of that there bridge, y’all going to do it to?
Fact Check Before You Freak Out
To me, this is a pretty obvious one, but it’s a step so many forget. When you are presented with information, especially the damaging or inflammatory kind, it’s wise to check your facts before you lose your cool.
As was the case with Bubbles and Sonny, fact checking can lead you to discover truths, motivations, falsehoods, and errors that you may have otherwise missed. Knowing all the facts before you handle a situation allows you to provide the very best solution. No brainer, right?
In summation… watch more kids shows
We are advocates. I mean, with all the bad floating around in the world, why not?
In all seriousness though, we all just need to put a little more focus on ourselves and being kind contributing members of society.
Blame, hatred, anger, spite, fear…. None of those things will help us advance as a society. So, let’s all just regress a little and enjoy our morals wrapped in bright colors. Go ahead and embrace your inner Popple, take the time to roll up your negatives and embrace change through self improvement.