I gave my daughter the “Jo” hairstyle last week:
It made me happy to recreate that iconic hairstyle sported by Jo on the TV show the Facts of Life, even though my daughter had no idea who “Jo” was! But it turns out that the “Jo” hairstyle made you happy, too. All day long on social media we traded lines, lyrics, and jokes from the show.
What is it about the Facts of Life that touched our generation? Certainly it was much better than those inane Nickelodeon shows that my kids watch these days. Most of the characters on those shows are snarky or act dumb and find themselves in ridiculous, unreal situations week after week.
Meanwhile, years ago on the Facts of Life, our friends Jo, Blair, Tootie and Natalie were facing challenges like prejudice, date rape, disabilities, and more. In other words, it was honest and real, as well as entertaining.
I loved watching Facts of Life growing up and I feel like it taught me a lot. Here are the 7 Life Lessons I Learned from Facts of Life:
1. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life.
In other words, life is not all sunshine and lollipops. Some days or situations suck. Some don’t. But that’s life. And the girls always came out stronger and braver for enduring the bad times as well as the good.
2. Everyone needs a Mrs. Garrett in her life.
Edna Garrett was hardworking, caring, kind, and funny. She was a disciplinarian, an entrepreneur, and a role model. We should all be lucky enough to have a Mrs. G in our lives.
3. Friends can be family.
This one rings true now that I’m in my 40s and do not live near my immediate family. But just as Blair, Tootie, Jo and Natalie had each other’s backs, I know that my friends and I will have each other’s backs.
4. Speaking of friends, make sure one can make you laugh and one knows about cars and fixing things.
Seriously, now that we are adults, isn’t it imperative that you have a friend who cracks you up like Natalie did? And a friend who knows how to fix things or what might be wrong with your car like Jo would know?
5. You can reinvent yourself.
In the first season of the Facts of Life, there were a lot of girls living in a dorm. By Season 2, there were only 4 girls living above the cafeteria. Later, they graduated and moved off campus, running a food shop that later they revamped into a totally 80’s gift shop. They didn’t do the same thing year after year. They took risks and changed things up. I shouldn’t be afraid to reinvent myself either.
6. There are consequences to your actions.
In the second season, Blair, Natalie, Tootie and Jo got in trouble. Their punishment? Living above the cafeteria and working there to repay the damages.
They didn’t make excuses, sue the school, or have their parents buy their way out.
7. Never underestimate the power of a good hair style.
Jo’s ponytail. Blair’s flip. Tootie’s ponytails with yarn ribbon. Natalie’s pull-back style. Edna Garrett’s bouffant. These hair styles were characters in themselves! And decades later I felt the power of Jo’s street smarts, courage, and sass as I gave my daughter the “Jo” style.
What about you? Did you watch the Facts of Life? What did you learn about life from Jo, Tootie, Natalie and Blair?