Pure Inspiration

‘Downton Abbey’: Grace, Civility, and Style

A favorite in our household, Downtown Abbey returns tomorrow night.  My darling wife and our very sweet daughter are counting hours until we open the gates to the Crawley estate and rejoin our favorite English family (or ‘British’ rather, since there’s at least one Irishman upstairs and quite a few Scots and Irishmen downstairs).

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I’ve often wondered why a story about an aristocratic British family holds so much fascination for Americans, and I think I have the answer.  It’s the way the Crawley family handles what life gives them.

The Crawleys aren’t immune from scandal (Lady Sybil ran off with the chauffeur), or hardship (Lord Grantham has made his fair share of spectacularly bad financial deals that almost cost him his home… twice), or family discord (the Crawley daughters really don’t get along).  BUT, they’ve got a core set of values they hold to, including their faith, and no matter what they take what comes with grace and, well, style. There is a sense of propriety and duty along the members of the household that I think is very attractive. I’m not romanticizing everything about the Edwardian era, but I think people showing each other respect even when they profoundly disagree with how they live their lives (cf. how everyone treats Thomas), and “soldiering on” in the face of adversity are lessons we can learn from that bygone time.

Perhaps it might be time for us here in the USA to recover a little style and grace in a turbulent 21st Century.

With that in mind, enjoy this article from USA Today that has some really great quotes.

My favorite quote wasn’t there, so I’ll give Mr. Carson the last word: When you’re tired of style, you’re tired of life!

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