I love British television. As a kid that was not the case, but as I’ve grown older I discovered how so much of their shows and movies make me feel relaxed and peaceful. The first “happy place” I found for myself was in my cozy bed watching anything British while Chris was gone traveling the country. Of course, the new popular series coming from that small island is Downton Abbey. In some circles, Downton has received a good amount of criticism. I hear it said that it’s too “modern” or too controversial or too scandalizing. However, the vast majority of viewers absolutely love that show. As for me, I completely enjoy it and look forward to watching during it’s airing season. It has many of the attributes that make watching British TV so enjoyable. It’s these attributes that qualifies this post as being part of my “All Kinds of Beauty” section.
One notion I’ve noticed about most BBC/Masterpiece Theatre shows is that they love scenic shots.
The producers and directors are okay with taking a few seconds of filming to show the beautiful landscape of that small country. They pan in and out of the rolling hills, and reveal to us a few precious seconds of those darling little villages and majestic homes. Downton Abbey does not disappoint in that regard. When that music starts and the display of images come on the screen showing that beautiful home and the surrounding country side, my chest aches with longing to experience that kind of beauty first hand. The on-location filming, the lovely costumes, the peaceful music, and near poetical flow of the language all makes this program feed that desire for experiencing beauty in my day. It simply makes me feel good.
Okay... All of that mushy stuff is solely to justify my placement of this blog. (Yes, I am a bit particular. Sorry) So now back to the title of my piece. Aside from the enjoyment of the beautiful elements and the excitement of a well written script and story line, I have actually learned a few things from this highly popular series. These lessons came to me during a trying time in our family, when everything seemed to “hit the fan” and I was legitimately concerned with being shunned by an entire community of people. I suppose important lessons can come from any source.
Even good respectable families experience scandals. The Crawley family has definitely weathered it’s share of improprieties. In an era when these aristocratic families needed to display a veneer of near perfection, they had to work hard at covering up one imperfection after another. However, despite their obvious human difficulties and shortcomings, they always attempted to do the right thing and be a proper family who supports and helps the community around them. Just because they experienced these shocking hurdles should not completely tarnish the good they have worked hard at doing. It is easy for us to harshly judge our own spouses, siblings, parents, children and even ourselves. Yet, imperfections that are found in any of our family members do not and should not erase their innate value. Perfection is unattainable.
Children who are raised properly can still make bad decisions. As any parent, the Crawleys tried their hardest to raise their daughters with the correct virtues and behaviors that were expected of individuals during that time. Yet, those girls are human and have their own free will (as well as script writers). As in the case of many of us real, modern parents, despite our best efforts to raise our kids with high morals and similar values as we hold, our children need to find their own way and that usually means lots of mistakes. It is important to remember that our children’s blunders do not reflect on our skills as parents and they certainly don’t prophesy of a future of godforsaken delinquency. Almost all mistakes our children make can be made into something positive, or at least useful.
Families that stick together weather problems better. Despite the drama and chaos that was whirling inside the Crawley mansion, they always present a united front. They didn’t throw their loved ones to the wolves to be torn apart in order to save their own dignity. If you are looking for what a good family looks like, don’t look for ones where every member acts and speaks perfectly. Instead, look for those families that, despite the difficulties they experience. have pulled in together, circled the wagons, and presented a united force. It can be challenging to show love and support to family members when they do things that embarrass or cause strain to the family, but in that lies the much sought after quality of being a meritorious family. Love each other despite the situation. That is what we chose to do. We interlocked our arms, turned and faced the community, and said, “NONE SHALL PASS!”
I often say “Truth is truth, no matter the source”. So there you have it. Television can still be educational.