Ten things that Doctor Who can teach our kids
That two-hearted hero is just the best role model ever…
3 years ago
Tamsin Oxford Professional writer and editor Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, UK
Think that Doctor Who is just a revisited and reimagined show from the 60s with a mad man in a blue box? Well, yes, it is all of that, but more than toilet plungers, Allonsy and bowties, Doctor Who can teach our children some very important lessons if we know where to look.
1. Slavery is wrong
The first time you meet the Ood it is in the two part series with the Tenth Doctor on the Impossible Planet. They are a slave race performing menial tasks for humans and given no rights or names. In Planet of the Ood you discover that they have been mutilated and enslaved and the way it is revealed strikes a powerful chord. It gives parents a chance to show the answers to some difficult life questions.
2. Friends are important
From Rose Tyler’s heart wrenching farewell in Doomsday to Katarina, the first companion ever to die, Doctor Who shows how important it is to have friends and to trust in them when it counts. The Tenth Doctor would never have taken pity on the family in The Fires of Pompeii without Donna and when he is alone, he is rage and fire. It shows us why we need our friends to help us stay on track and to give us a bit of a smack over the head when we’re being foolish.
The show offers insight into tolerance that have strong reflections in the world today. Religious, ethnic and wealth intolerance are abundant in our society and sometimes Doctor Who can give children the tools they need to find their way through it. The Doctor’s Daughter has the Doctor given a life lesson in acceptance as he realises his cloned daughter is as valuable and real as he, and the people of the planet Messaline discover the cost of racial intolerance and find a way to defeat it.
4. Change is good
Children experience change throughout their small lives – from getting bigger to finding their feet to being dragged around the world by their parents. The Doctor regenerates, he becomes someone entirely new and he faces each change with enthusiasm and spirit. Change means growth and development and the Doctor makes this fun. And, of course, we all excitedly await the personality about to be brought forth by Peter Capaldi in the latest regeneration of the Doctor.
5. Face your fear
Fear and love are two of life’s most consistent emotions and they can bring about great harm. The Doctor teaches us that you don’t need violence to solve your problems. Instead of weapons he brings humour, wisdom and thought. He doesn’t quite love his enemies, the Daleks and he won’t be sitting down for tea, but he doesn’t destroy unless there is absolutely no choice.
6. An enthusiasm for life
Time may be wibbly and wobby and wimey (according to the Tenth Doctor in Blink), but it is also your own. Doctor Who does one thing magnificently, it shows our children that taking chances, opening doors and leaping out into new worlds is an adventure. We may not be able to stand on a living asteroid (The Doctor’s Wife) or the Caves of Androzani, but we can try something new whenever we want.
Amy Pond was the girl who waited, and she received her reward in abundance. One thing that the fez-wearing, bouncy footed Eleventh Doctor taught us is that sometimes people and places are worth waiting for and we need to draw breath and see what lies ahead.
8. Nothing lasts forever
The First Doctor, the delectable Tenth Doctor, the waitress called Astrid, the list of deaths and departures is long and sad. People will come in and out of your life and enrich it in different ways. Children find losing friends quite tough and sometimes it is worth showing them that even in Doctor Who the loss stings [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAm5YIOU05I], but everybody’s lives are better for the meeting and the knowing.
9. Xenophobia is meaningless
The Daleks destroy any who are not their own. They believe any other species is inferior and not worth living. Throughout every incarnation of the Doctor we are shown how much he despises this race and why their xenophobia is the main reason for his intensely negative reactions to them. He values all life and never sees tentacles or skin colour or species, just personality and actions.
10. You are fantastic
There is one overarching theme that sits within the Whoverse and if it is the only lesson your children ever take from this insane series, then it is enough. They are fantastic. The Doctor teaches people to be the best that they can be and sees that in them, but he also values himself and that is such an important understanding to have. In the words of the Ninth Doctor… “You were fantastic, and you know what? So was I!”