Today, my kids watched a TV show I hadn’t seen before. I wasn’t really paying attention, at first. You know, stepsisters are roommates, one’s a slob, the other’s a complete neatnik. What’s new? Then, the sloppy one decided to invade her sister’s stuff, and reached for one item that was labeled “Do Not Touch”. I started to really pay attention, because she pulled a violin bow out of a case. And then began dancing around the room and singing about the thrills of getting into her sister’s stuff.
Normally, I would just consider this a stupid show with a ridiculous story, and full of silly ways of getting back at your siblings. I still think it’s a dumb show, but the violin bow took it to a different level for me. Why? Well, first, consider the rest of the story. Of course, in mid-song, the violin bow breaks. She tries to hide it, but then her brothers accidentally sit on it, and break it again. Then, somehow it gets superglued to her back, and things escalate from there.
When her sister finally founds out, the culprit sister tries to say “it’s just a bow”. Her enraged sister informs her that it isn’t just a bow, it was her mother’s, the one that she used to play lullabies on. Now, whenever she picks it up, she can almost hear her mother playing. Of course, this point of view makes Sister Destructive feel terrible.
I don’t know if the Violin Sister did it on purpose or not, it doesn’t really matter. But we find out that the bow was actually a spare, not her mother’s. So, she hadn’t really lost her most precious treasure. Sister Destructive stops feeling guilty, and snaps back that it’s STILL just a bow, if it wasn’t her mother’s. Violin Sister counters with “it’s the principle of the thing”. Sister D just thinks this is another example of her OCD sister taking things to extremes, and in a temper, throws jam in her sister’s face. Resulting in a food fight.
So, my guess is that the moral of the story is that, sure, as long as it isn’t an heirloom, you can go ahead and break your sibling’s things. Because in the end, it’s just stuff, and getting upset about it is materialistic. Besides, she was tricked into thinking it was special, so it doesn’t really count anymore.
When I was in fifth grade, I started to play the violin. My family thought this was a great thing, and to make it even more special, I knew that my grandmother had played violin, too. She admitted that her own violin was in terrible condition, so she never offered it to me. We went out and bought another. But she DID have a beautiful bow, with small pieces of what looked like mother-of-pearl, embedded in the handle. No matter, knowing my grandma had played with it, that’s what made it special to me.
Several years later, one of my brothers (he was about five years old, at the time) got into my things, and broke my violin bow. I was absolutely crushed, because you can’t fix a bow. The thinness of the wood, the tension of the bow-hair, even if there was any way of gluing it, no glue would ever hold it. I eventually got a nice enough bow, but it wasn’t my grandma’s.
I forgave my brother, and have never held it against him. He was only a child, and it was an accident. But I’ve never forgotten, not the part about his breaking it, but the part that says I will never get to hold my grandma’s bow, in one beautiful piece and tell someone who gave it to me. I won’t be able to gift it to a child of my own.
Now, I no longer play the violin, but I still treasure the violin itself, and it holds many happy memories for me. The reason I no longer play, well, that’s another long story that I won’t go into here.
So, while the Destructive Sister on the show was jumping through hoops, trying to fix the bow, and escape her sister’s attention, I was cringing. And then, she trivialized what she did, and rightly realized the pain she was causing her sister. But then, the whole “principle of the thing” part was played as if it was silly. That both of them needed to lighten up, and it really IS “just a bow”.
Maybe I read the situation wrong. I’ll never know. What I do know is that you shouldn’t mess with people’s belongings, and if you do break something, you should own up to it. Yes, I know they don’t do it, for plot devices, but it just made me dislike her character, even more. And “the principle of the thing” is correct. Since you don’t know the past history of the belongings of someone else, you shouldn’t mess with said belongings. If she didn’t actually break the mother’s bow, she easily could have. And in the end, she didn’t act or feel like she’d done anything wrong. After the food fight, everything was “better”.
And that’s a subject I’m not even getting onto. The idea of flinging jam and everything else around someone’s kitchen… what kind of behavior are these shows modeling for the kids nowadays? The wrong ones. But hey, I already knew that.