‘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.

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!

Mickey is an expert in leadership and organizational change. During his 30 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. Mickey now works with clients around the country to improve performance and help organizational transformation. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC. Mickey is the author of eight books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating TeamsMickey’s Rules for Leaders, and The Five Be’s: A Straightforward Guide to Life.

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