9 Life Lessons from 'Family Matters' That Are Still Relevant Today
"Family Matters" was one of the great 90s sitcoms that helped us deal with our own family issues in addition to providing tons of laughs.
The hit show told the story of the Winslow family and how they dealt with different challenges in their lives. Topics like racism, true friendship, fatherhood, and relationships we all covered.
We followed along with the adorably annoying Steve Urkel, Eddie, Laura, Harriette, Carl, and Waldo for nine seasons. With that, let's have a look at nine timeless lessons the show imparted on us.
In the second episode of the very first season, Harriette Winslow steps up at work and asks for a job. Unfortunately, her ambition leads to her getting fired.
Instead of giving up and relying on husband Carl's salary, Harriette applies for a head of security job. She gets turned down at first, but that doesn't stop her.
She goes back and explains quite clearly why she is more suitable for the job than other candidates. The bold move lands her the job and taught viewers that we should always believe in ourselves, especially when we know our worth.
Fight the Good Fight
In the 20th episode of season two, Laura works as an advocate to get her school to start teaching a black history class. However, opposition comes in the form of racism when someone spray paints a racial slur on her locker door.
Her family rallies around to support her, but grandma Winslow is the one who pushes her to continue. Laura gets an idea to place posters of historic black figures around her school.
Eventually, she softens the hearts of those who previously were against her idea, and the class is approved. The lesson? Don't even give up on fighting for the right thing.
I Should Have Done Something
In the 25th episodes of season two, Carl Winslow taught us to forgive ourselves and let go of things we can't control. In the episode, he is tormented when the anniversary of a hostage's death comes around.
Carl blames himself for what happened. In fact, it is the widow of the deceased who reassured him that it wasn't his fault. Sometimes, things are simply beyond our control despite how much we dislike it.
A Test of Friendship
In the 14th episode of season three, Steve and Eddie encounter a serious test of friendship. It begins when Eddie deceitfully persuades Steve to cheat for him on a chemistry test by pretending to be sick.
Steve gets caught, but he refuses to give up his friend. Laura is compelled to talk to Eddie about how he shouldn't take advantage of Steve's loyalty. Thankfully, Eddie comes around and the two boys get suspended, but they're allowed to retake the test later on.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Urkel
In the 10th episode of season four, Steve shatters a glass gift that Laura purchased to give to her mother for Christmas. She lashes out and pushes Steve away, but not before telling him she wished he knew what it was like to be in her shoes.
In a twist, Laura gets her wish from her guardian angel, while also seeing the other side of the coin. She sees how it's like to be Steve — constantly rejected and shunned despite his good intentions.
When Laura is granted another chance to respond to Steve's action, she is much gentler. Additionally, she goes on to invite him to spend Christmas with the family.
Good Cop, Bad Cop
In the 15th episode of season five, Eddie drives through a mostly white neighborhood and is stopped by a cop. He's guilty of a minor infraction but is also racially profiled.
The cop alleges that he's a wanted carjacker and arrests him. When Carl, a cop, is brought into the situation, he is also subjected to the cop's racist attitude. This episode was a hard lesson about the reality of the day to day lives of African Americans.
In the 15th episode of season 6, another tough issue about the African-American community is confronted. Laura is robbed at gunpoint, leading to her wanting to buy a gun.
Sadly, it takes the death of a friend through gun violence to change her mind. She opens up a gun-buyback drive in hopes of getting members of the community to end the situation.
My Big Brother
In the 8th episode of season seven, Steve plays big brother to a new character named J. He mentors the boy until he discovers that J can't read and is frustrated by that fact.
Steve manages to calm him down and explain to him why reading is not just beneficial, but something he could come to love. This lesson in helping the youth is one which is relevant for all of time.
Out with the Old
In the first episode of season nine, Steve uses a potion that makes him "cooler" to earn Laura's approval. Surprisingly, it works, and despite Myra's unconditional love for Steve, he does not want to always be considered a geek.
It's a tough decision to make. One that shows us how much we should appreciate those who accept us for our true selves — flaws and all. Steve and the Winslow family often allowed us to see things from a different perspective. We'll always be grateful for this funny, wonderful family.
Building demolished, new lives begun
So it was sad to learn that the famous Chicago house which appeared at the start of each episode, would be demolished. In 2017, the building was brought down to make way for a three-unit abode.
Of course, it takes people to make a home and the stars have long moved on. For example, Kellie Shanygne Williams, who played Laura, is now the mother of two children and no longer appears on the small screen. We wish the entire cast well in whatever path in life they choose to follow.