Hulu has brought the ultimate nostalgia to 20- and 30-somethings with their streaming of “Boy Meets World.” As I re-watch this beloved series, I am astounded by the wisdom that Mr. Feeny and the whole gang brings to each 22-minute episode, and how their examples still affect me as a young adult. Reminisce with me on the life lessons that America’s favorite teacher taught to Cory, Shawn, and each one of us who tuned in each week.
1. Stories can teach us life’s greatest lessons
In the pilot, Cory can’t comprehend why Eric plans to take his girlfriend to a Phillies game instead of him. Later, while in detention, Cory and Feeny hash it out as to why love is the most important thing. Feeny explains that “there is no greater aspiration than to have love in our lives, Mr. Matthews. Romeo knew it and died for it.”
It’s funny how watching a show that stars an 11-year-old coming of age can remind us of some of life’s most important lessons. I’ve always loved a good story, but I hadn’t realized the impact that “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “Romeo and Juliet” could have on my life when it comes to expressing love for my family. I ended up studying literature as an undergrad and found that reading and watching great stories allowed me to learn important life lessons and grow as a person.
2. Some problems have more than one answer
Early on in the show, we learn about Amy and Alan’s love for one another. In one episode, Cory fears that his mother is having an affair after learning that she really isn’t at her bowling league each Wednesday night. Cory, Shawn, and Eric go on a quest to figure out if their mother is indeed having an affair. In class Mr. Feeny teaches Cory that there can be more than one right answer to a problem. Through their snooping, Cory and Eric find their parents were actually sneaking out to go on a date.
Throughout this episode, we see Cory distraught at the idea of his parents splitting up. Instead, his parents were just falling more in love with one another. As I prepare for my own marriage, I’m reminded how important spousal love is to the integrity of the family. I didn’t have this example growing up in my own family, so seeing a married couple on a TV show love in this way is encouraging. I am reminded that there are times in life when we may need to look at a problem from a different perspective in order to solve it.
3. “If you search your heart, and listen to its instructions, you won’t go wrong.” — Mr. Feeny
In another recurring theme of the series, we watch Cory and Topanga break up and forgive one another over and over again. In Season 4, the couple is faced with their biggest challenge yet: Topanga’s family moving to Pittsburgh. The two 16-year-olds know that they have something special, but they’re unaware of how this situation will play out.
Cory and Topanga take Feeny’s advice and discern what would be best for their relationship. They trust, follow their hearts, and Topanga’s aunt offers her a place to stay and live for the remainder of high school.
My fiance and I have used Feeny’s advice in deciding what our life should look like. When we graduated from college, I chose to do a year of volunteer work. We were unsure of how our relationship would be affected, but we took the time to pray and reflect on what this change would mean for us. By trusting ourselves and each other, we have been confident in each step we take.
4. Try your best and do good in this world
In the series finale, the gang asks Feeny if he has anything else to teach them, and he says that he has done his job, and they are ready to go out into the world. The show ends with Feeny reminding them to always dream, try their best, and to do good.
Mr. Feeny taught me that no matter what is happening in life, I can always try my best and give my time to help make this world better. During my transition from full-time volunteer to graduate student, this held true. I found that no matter what was on my plate, I could always try to succeed while also setting aside time to give back through volunteer work. Having these two lessons in balance with one another has allowed me to be proactive in my studies while taking time to help my community.
Originally published on January 23, 2018.