Friday nights are usually full of football and video games, but this weekend I decided to tackle the laundry and catch up with an old favorite movie. Anne of Green Gables was one of my “go-to” movies growing up. When I wanted to escape everything I’d watch Anne and imagine living on a farm and having red hair and sinking in a boat while quoting Tennyson. It has been years since I last watched Anne and after Friday night, I realized stories like her’s are what we are missing in today’s entertainment choices.
We have too many teenage girls trying to fit a mold that Disney or Nickelodeon have created. There are too many teenage girls who push their creativity down deep to try and be like everyone else. I like Anne because she never sold herself out, for long anyway. When she tried to dye her hair, after being teased, she realized how wrong it was to try and be something she wasn’t. “Oh Marilla! I thought nothing could be as bad as red hair. Green is ten times worse.”
She was an outsider of the worst kind from the beginning: an orphan, a redhead, a dreamer and a girl. “You don’t want me. You don’t want me because I’m not a boy. Nobody ever did want me. I knew this was all too good to be true.” It’s hard for girls in this day and age to realize how girls in the past were treated. They weren’t educated as well as boys. Boys were at least able to help on farms and continue on the family name. There was little value placed on a girl. Anne made her own-self valuable and it didn’t involve her looks or how outrageous she was. She used her brains and her way with words to go forward and not just be the orphan girl.
Anne Shirley reminds me to find the beauty in everyday life. She saw a haunted woods and a silvery lake, when others just saw a forest and a place to catch fish. After watching her become “The Lady of Shallott,” I realized she’d never sell out her passion. She wouldn’t stop dreaming and hoping and moving forward.
Sometimes, as a mom and wife, I get bogged down by everyday things. It’s the normal “stuff” of life. The laundry will always be there, the bathrooms will always need cleaning, dinner will always need to be made and it isn’t always glamorous. The everyday can be something a little special. Bath time is better with bubbles and a story. Candles on the table make the macaroni and cheese a little bit exotic. I haven’t quite figured out how to make cleaning the bathrooms exciting, but if I do, I’ll share it with you.
Today, I’ll look for the ghost in the woods. I’ll remind my boys that the trees aren’t just being blown by the wind, they are dancing with the wind. I’ll remember that I am the one who can inspire passion in them and hope that there is a little girl out their being inspired, too. I’ve only got one life and I refuse to spend it fixated on celebrities and what they are wearing. I’d rather find the passionate outsider, a kindred spirit, who finds joy in everyday life and gives optimism and hope to her family and community.
Don’t just watch everyone else go through life, be part of it. Listen to the wind in the trees and bask in the setting sun. Encourage your children to watch the ants or blow a dandelion. A little inspiration can go a long way.