Lessons from Dr. Frankenstein’s Laboratory

During the Halloween season, we celebrate all things scary and spooky.  Things that go bump in the night.  Ghosts. Goblins. Witches. Monsters.  We indulge in ghost stories, horror movies, and frightening costumes, and we carry on age-old traditions, such as trick-or-treating and carving pumpkins. 

This is the perfect time of the year to revisit classic tales, like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Dracula, and Frankenstein.  These stories serve up lots of thrills and chills, and if we take a closer look, they also can teach us life lessons.  Take Frankenstein, for example.

In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, a scientist, copes with the death of his mother by losing himself in his experiments in his laboratory.  One such experiment leads him to create a humanoid, the Creature.  From the moment the Creature was brought to life, he was summarily rejected by Dr. Frankenstein and, later, by the villagers. 

The Creature lacked love and companionship, and he never experienced a sense of belonging.  Dr. Frankenstein abandoned the Creature and did not keep his promise to the Creature to create a mate for him, and others were frightened by his appearance and rebuffed him. 

Fortunately, our neighbors do not chase us with torches and pitchforks, but we may have our own relationship challenges and long for more meaningful connections with family and friends.  The story of Frankenstein’s Creature gives us the opportunity to think about how we can strengthen the relationships in our lives and feel a sense of belonging.

  1. Communicate openly. Relationships depend on healthy communication.  Actively listen to each other. Deal with conflicts promptly and respectfully. Role model effective communication techniques.
  2. Spend time together. Schedule quality time for family gatherings and activities with friends.  Unplug from your devices and reconnect with people in real life.  Be present and cultivate meaningful relationships. 
  3. Practice self-care. You cannot take care of anyone else, if you don’t take care of yourself first.  Get back to the basics of proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. 
  4. Show your love and affection. Focus on what you love about your family and friends and tell them.  Express your love and affection for the people in your life in your words and actions and show your appreciation for them.
  5. Take risks. Being yourself and getting to know another person require vulnerability. Reveal personal information gradually, even if it feels awkward or scary.
  6. Share support. Healthy relationships are based on reciprocity. Relationships involve give and take, so, it is important to both offer assistance to others and to ask for, and accept, it in return. 

Frankenstein’s Creature may have lived in isolation and dealt with rejection, but we don’t have to suffer the same fate. Relationships can be tricky, but if we invest ourselves in them, they can be a lasting treat. Happy Halloween!

That’s another story. . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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