As the mom of two young children (8 and under) finding something I want to watch on TV that can be played at normal waking hours is difficult. Regardless of what they are doing, if I turn on the TV they flock to it like moths to a flame and my shows have a great influence on them.
For example, my son wants to live in a tiny house, my daughter wants the Property Brothers to redo our house, and they both think Mike Holmes is hysterical.
But a girl can only watch so much HGTV.
Enter Jane Austen. Specifically Pride and Prejudice for this post.
Normally I would read them the books but that’s hard to do when laundry needs to be folded and dinner made. We often listen to audio books, though I think Jane Austen would be hard for them to conceptualize at this age.
So movies it is.
There is no vulgar language. No nudity. No violence. It has captivating English accents and enchanting stories. The scenery is pleasing and it’s unlike what my kids are used to, so it holds their attention.
Rarely when I turn on a movie from Jane’s work do I end up watching it alone.
But movie ratings aside, watching Jane’s stories on the big screen serve a bigger purpose in our lives. They provide what I call “teachable moments”.
The other day we were in the store and my daughter was offering my son something. Cranky is his normal state and this day was no different. Without listening to what she was saying he covered his ears and said, “I don’t want to hear you talk.”
Resisting the urge to jerk a knot in his chain for being rude, I went with this instead- “Remember when Mr. Darcy said mean things about Elizabeth when they were at the dance and she heard him? What did she think of him after that?”
They both were able to answer that she didn’t like him very much. To which I pointed out that it took a long time for her to grow to like him and in her dislike she judged him harshly. Do you want someone to have those feelings about you because you’re having a bad day? I pointed out a woman who had been nearby. “That lady heard you and I wonder what she thinks of you?”
In our house, it’s okay if not everyone likes you. You can’t please everyone, but we tell our kids to try not to give people a reason to dislike you. Use manners, be polite.
Which goes into my second Jane Austen lesson- first impressions.
You’re going to have bad days. But how do you want people to remember you? As the cranky kid who tells people to stop talking? Or the cranky kid who says that he’s having a bad day and just sits quietly in his bad mood? I can promise you that using the second method will earn a second chance. The first, very unlikely. Second chances was a concept I taught early on.
This leads into my third lesson from Jane- communication. Pride and Prejudice is all about communication. Had Jane expressed more of an interest in Bingley, would he have been so easily swayed to leave? I understand that the times call for propriety, but there were ways she could have let her feelings be known.
Had Elizabeth not sat on the information about Wickham, would Lydia have been spared? If you tell people you’re in a mood, won’t they be more understanding?
These are my lessons from Jane. I’m about to move into Emma and then Persuasion where I’ll show them these similar themes continue to present themselves. Why? Because they are the common themes people struggle with in life. That’s what sinks in for my kids. These are obstacles not exclusive to them, but span time.
Thanks, Jane. For Mr. Darcy and teachable moments.
Kristi Rose was raised in central Florida on boiled peanuts and iced tea. She’s been lucky enough to travel the world but now, a wife and mother, she’s resigned to traveling to the grocery store. When she’s not practicing as a pediatric Occupational Therapist she’s watching people and wondering about their stories. That’s what Kristi likes to write. Stories about everyday people, the love that brings them together, and their journey getting there. Sign up for Kristi’s newsletter and be the first to know about releases, giveaways, and become an advanced reader for her work. She has been working on a contemporary series of our favorite couple in her Meryton Matchmaker series below.
Book Links: http://www.kristirose.net/link/169
Lottie and Bill are not a match. Elizabeth must prove she’s a better matchmaker than a machine to save her livelihood, and a whole lot of happy ever afters.
Free Download Companion guide that gets updated as the series progresses: http://dl.bookfunnel.com/tkkulryr2w