The popular sitcom Modern Family is based on the everyday fun, laughter, romance, fighting and struggles of a 21st century family. There is a typical American family, where the mother Claire Dunphy and father Phil Dunphy struggle with their three children Haley, Alex and Luke (oldest to the youngest, two sisters and one brother). Claire’s father is very old school in his thoughts but he has a young wife Gloria, younger than his eldest daughter Claire much to her contention. Gloria has a son Manny who is much too mature for his age. Claire’s brother is Mitchell who has started a family with his partner Cam. Together they adopt an Asian baby and name her Lily. The heterogeneity in people’s personalities which often clashes adds spice to this television series. This is a series for casual consumption, a sitcom where you can relax without bothering about under age kids sneaking a peak. It is a fun family-oriented half hour entertainment piece. But it does a lot more than just entertain. It teaches a thing or two about family too, some things that you know, some you don’t and some you don’t want to accept.
- Parents always want the best for their kids.
From the day we were born, parents have always been there for us. They may not be perfect, but they do their best to ensure that everything in our lives is perfect. It is fine if you do not always understand their reasons for doing things. Sometimes you might absolutely hate them for barring you from doing the thing you want to do the most, like spending all your pocket money on one pair of jeans or hanging out with the cigarette smoking, seemingly cool crown. A good example of this in modern Family is when Claire does not like Hailey’s good-for-nothing boyfriend from high school. Hailey, being a teenager hates this kind of intrusion. She does not see why her mother does not understand that her boyfriend who plays the guitar, has great hair and follows her around is not a good choice for her. Claire on the other hand is worried about the level of intellect of this guy and is worried where her child will end up if she ends up with him. She draws these conclusions from the variety of guys that she went out with herself, something she cannot explain to Hailey without undermining her own credentials. Claire is happy that she finally chose Phil, who was the opposite of the guy that Hailey is with right now and that is one of the primary choices that made her life as good as it is right now.
- Experiment. Try new things!
Like the adage ‘Don’t judge the book by its cover’, don’t make assumptions about something before you have tried something. You will never know unless you take that step. And life is about doing new things and not being stuck in the same old rut always. Taking chances helps you live up to your potential. You often miss out on a number of opportunities when you don’t try new things. This is often the case with Jay and Manny. Jay always feels that he is too old to change his ways so he is reluctant to try new food. Manny who is all too grown up for his age, suffers from the same shortcoming. Getting him to try new food (or even regular food like pickle) or sports is a task for both Jay and Gloria who are afraid that Manny will never be like the other happy kids who at this age jump around in the playground and always eager to try new things in their lives
- Save money
Don’t spend all that you earn. Save money for a rainy day. It is surprising how this lesson comes from Luke, the youngest kid of Claire’s family who is often written off as too busy with antiques and often too dumb to understand things around him. We see how he saves money by skimming off from his parents. Having done that for many years, he has saved more money than either of his sisters which is surprising because Alex is considered as the smart in the entire family. Although it is not advisable to steal from your family (or anyone for that matter), but it is essential that you save.
- Be accepting of others
The best example of this is how Jay, an old timer with views dating back to the last century, accepts most of the aspects of his gay son, Mitchell. From coming out of the closet, to living with another man, adopting a daughter from another race and finally marrying his life partner. Although Jay does resist these changes, he finally comes around to accept what makes his son happy. And this is how you should be. You should understand that everyone is different. You should be open about their customs and traditions, their likes and dislikes. You don’t have to adopt them but tolerance is key, especially in a world which is so tightly knit together that you bump into people of different religions and nationalities more often than you bump into people of the same beliefs.