High and Pure Ideals - A Lesson from Anne of Green Gables

This fall I've been revisiting some of the books that I enjoyed most when I was growing up; when you're older you are able to pick new things out of books that you may have already read. One of the series I re-started was the "Anne of Green Gables" series, by L. M. Montgomery. I really love these books for many reasons, one of which is that the author is somehow able to sneak good points into the story, and it's interesting because it's done in such a natural way. I especially liked one of these points this time around, and I thought I'd share an excerpt. This is from the second book Anne of Avonlea:

"Gilbert was as yet little more than a boy; but a boy has his dreams as have others, and in Gilbert's future there was always a girl with big, limpid gray eyes, and a face as fine and delicate as a flower. He had made up his mind, also, that his future must be worthy of its goddess. Even in quiet Avonlea there were temptations to be met and faced. White Sands youth were a rather "fast" set, and Gilbert was popular wherever he went. But he meant to keep himself worthy of Anne's friendship and perhaps some distant day her love; and he watched over every word and thought and deed as jealously as if her clear eyes were to pass in judgement on it. She held over him the unconcious influence that every girl, whose ideals are high and pure, weilds over her friends; an influence that would endure as long as she was faithful to those ideals and which she would as certainly lose if she were ever false to them. In Gilbert's eyes Anne's greatest charm was the fact that she never stooped to the petty practices of so many of the Avonlea girls - the small jealousies, the little deceits and rivalries, the palpable bids for favor. Anne held herself apart from all this, not conciously or of design, but simply because anything of the sort was utterly foreign to her transparent, impulsive nature, crystal clear in it's motives and aspirations."

I thought this was a beautiful description of something that I have witnessed myself: that when a persons holds high standards in their behaviour and speech, the people around them tend to live up to that person's standards, whether they realize it or not. My parents have always had high expectations of the behaviour of my siblings and me, and I have noticed many times, with my family members and myself, that people do tend to watch their own behaviour around us because of our high standards. I especially love the following line: "She held over him the unconcious influence that every girl, whose ideals are high and pure, wields over her friends; an influence that would endure as long as she was faithful to those ideals, and which she would as certainly lose if she was ever false to them." It's amazing that someone can so easily influence other people for the better, simply by holding pure ideals, but it's very true. But it's important not only to have high ideals yourself, but to practice them. As soon as you violate your own standards there is no reason for others to try to live up to them, because you yourself do not.

This section of the book encouraged me to watch myself for any lapses in practicing my ideals, and I hope it encourages you too. You could be influencing those around you, and it's important to represent Christ in your actions and keep the best ideals possible; it could matter more than you know.

End note: I got the above image from www.ddsbinfo.wordpress.com.
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LeAnna said...

Yes, and yes! I totally agree. Growing up I was referred to as a "good girl" (keep in mind, this was around CHURCH, too!!!) and was often criticized for not giving every guy that came my way a chance. But, I held to my standards, and God honored that. I wish more young people (and even adults) would take this to heart. Our actions do speak louder than words. I was reading a parenting book last night, and it even talked about how we should parent with actions and not just words. Our children need to see this same principal put into effect in our every day lives.

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