Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Raising children the Downton Abbey way

I'm having my own private Downton Abbey week.  While surfing all things Downton Abbey on the interwebs, I discovered that season 4 will not begin to be aired in the United States until January 2014.  (pause... to allow for tear wiping)  However, season 4 WILL begin to air in the United Kingdom in October 2013.  (if only we had a queen here in the US.  oh Oprah, why oh why won't you use your power for good, rather than electing poor presidents and promoting movies you buy in order to act?)

As I continue in my longing for Downton Abbey to return to my living room I thought I'd share a little blog I found about raising children the Downton Abbey way.  I mean, seriously, they raise better children on that show than we do.   (even if they only use doctors that tell them what they want to hear which allows their daughter to die after childbirth from preeclampsia / eclampsia.)  I am so looking forward to see how baby George (the new heir of Downton and, by AMAZING coincidence the same name as the new heir to the throne of England) is going to be raised.  I cannot wait.

But we don't have to wait.  Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa Endlich Heffernan have written a blog laying out 17 parenting lessons from Downton Abbey.  If we learn nothing at all from watching the best show on PBS, EVER!, we can learn how to raise good and proper children.

1. Grandparents have a crucial role to play in any family as dispensers of wisdom and healers of souls. No one can put a situation into perspective better than someone who has seen seven decades pass. In times of pain and panic, it is the Dowager who is needed most.

2. If we do not change with the times and listen to those much younger than ourselves -- our children in particular, even when they seem callow and naive -- we will soon become obsolete. The world is spinning on and we must listen to the young or risk forever being a prisoner of 1923 or 2013. Even without a sneak peak of Episode Six, it is clear that Robert better start listening to Matthew.

3. We mustn't wait until caught in the grips of grieving to tell our siblings how much they mean to us. The sibling relationship is life's longest, and we would be fools take it for granted.

4. A home is truly only a building, even if it is Downton Abbey. Losing it or any other possessions matters little compared to losing those we love. We did not shed a tear when we thought the family would lose their beloved Downton; the same cannot be said of Sybil's passing.

5. If our child finds true love (or friendship), whether or not the object of that love is someone we would have selected, we must rejoice for them. A seeming gentleman might jilt our daughter at the altar, but a good man will love her until her last breath. One need only look at the sad episode of Edith and Anthony versus the true love shared by Sybil and Tom.

6. Our children need and deserve our understanding and forgiveness -- true forgiveness, even when they have done wrong. We love them and that love must transcend their mistakes. Mary's painful transgression with Kemal Pamuk did not deprive her of her father's love.

7. Never underestimate the power of a well-chosen few words. Speaking softly but strongly can have amazing results. The Dowager and Dr. Clarkson chose their words judiciously so that even though Cora's heart was breaking, she was not alone.

8. People can reinvent themselves -- just give them a chance to prove that they've changed, and avoid being judgmental and closed-minded, as the family was with Ethel.  (the housemaid that got knocked up)

9. When our deepest gut feeling tells us that there is something wrong with our child, even when experts may not agree, we need to follow our gut. Watching our child for a lifetime, through all of its up and downs, makes us an expert. No one knew Sybil better than her own mother.

10. Turning on those we love at life's worst moments -- although perhaps understandable in our rage -- will only magnify our grief. True consolation and understanding come from those we love the most, as Robert and Cora learn.

11. If someone truly cares for us, we should give them the chance to show how much. It is amazing what good things happen when we let love into our lives, as Daisy did with Mr. Mason.

12. When things are difficult, it helps to have someone to talk to honestly. True friendships are one of life's greatest gifts. We must not keep our problems bottled up inside. Where would Mrs. Hughes be without the loyal Mrs. Patmore?

13. We should teach our children to have faith in the people they love, even at the worst of times, like Anna and Mr. Bates.

14. If we have different rules and standards for our sons and daughters, things will not go well. If Mary could have inherited Downton Abbey, the show might have ended after the first season.

15. We must teach our children to be careful with their trust and alliances. Some who appear to be their friends will betray them. It is hard to know if someone is an O'Brien or a Thomas.

16. The loyalty and love of our children is one of life's greatest blessings, never to be taken lightly. Mary's loyalty to her father, when he is right and even when he is wrong, is a source of comfort and strength.

17. We don't need to like or even approve of everything our children do, but we can still offer encouragement. When our children's passions emerge and they show real enterprise, they need us as their supporters. It is hard not to imagine that someday Robert will be proud of a daughter who is a successful journalist.

Oh how will I wait until January?

431.  New boss, old boss and HR up in a meeting about ME this morning...  I'm still on their radar
432.  Son going to a Job Fair today with a new resume.  Please pray for him to find a job
433.  Looking for motivation and finding it
434.  Cold pizza for lunch
435.  Thinking about taking a trip to Maine and grateful that it will be there when I get there
436.  Being ok that most people aren't has taken with Downton Abbey as I am
437.  Hummingbirds
438.  People that actually focus on raising their children and make it their priority
439.  Being held accountable for your actions and not coddled
440.  Prayer.  I have so many prayers for my son, myself, my nation and other things today.  I'm glad it's a thing God doesn't mind that I do.  Even if I'm just begging


  1. That's a good list. The things our children teach us...

  2. These are excellent lessons!

    Sending best wishes and prayers for your son's job search.

  3. ha. def some nice lessons....and that we can fail at these things as well and still get there...as the DA family has def had their fair share of failure in those as well....hope that HR meeting goes well too....


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