Unexpected Hero—Gilbert Blythe, actor Jonathan Crombie

Actor Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe

Actor Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables.

In our modern society, I hear parents that encourage their kids to read books about vampires and edgy topics to help their daughters learn how to be treated by a man. “I know the blood is terrible, but the relationship is so wonderful. That’s what she needs.” Is this really the best we can do as parents?

This week a wonderful actor, Jonathan Crombie, passed away suddenly. In his younger years he played Gilbery Blythe on the Anne of Green Gables series. His character was so memorable for his pursuit of the red-headed smart girl, and quiet courage, and funny anctics as he grew into a loving man worthy to pursue and marry her.

The way Gilbert loved Anne says a lot to today's girls about how to be treated.

The way Gilbert loved Anne teaches girls about how to be treated.

Here are three things we can learn from his resilient character.

He was her true, “kindred spirit” friend.

Gil competed against her academically and in his younger years tried to captivate her attention this way. Over time, their competition turned to true friendship. He helped her family and brought out the best in her. If you know the series, you may remember he would give her honest feedback, but never tried to crush her spirit with his words.

He was selfless in his giving.

Gilbert showed his unfettered giving when he gave up the teaching post so Anne could care for her aging relatives and be close to Avonlea. His sacrificial giving, in turn, helped Anne to realize her foolishness and see the depths of love and character he had grown into. She was more connected with his giving, and could love him through tough times and illness with this in mind.

Gilbert Blythe: You know, every day I would pick a different memory of you and play it over and over and over again in my mind, until every hair, every freckle, every part of you was exactly as I remembered.

He didn’t try to change her; he just wanted to encourage her to fly.

When Anne showed giftedness in teaching and public speaking, he never tried to discourage this. Instead, he was in the audience or driving her to the event. He appreciated every part of her giftedness. He forgave her impulsiveness. He loved her and wanted to come alongside as partners in life.

Gilbert Blythe: All pioneers are considered to be afflicted with moonstruck madness.

That’s the best kind of love.

It doesn’t take zombies or blood-sucking to look for a great example of selflessness in today’s world. I think Gilbert’s character is so heartwarming because we all want that kind of love and friendship. Unexploited, forgiving, and encouraging in its tireless optimism.

I am blessed to be with my husband, John, who exhibits all these characteristics and more. He always believed in my dreams to reach today’s kids with encouraging stories. He’s only ever given from a place of hope and love. In times of great loss, he’s the first one to have faith and keep us on track with how and why we live.

Teach your daughters to keep looking if their hopes are stirred up to find Mr. Right and they’ve encountered other types of giving. Teach them most of all to find God’s love to fill the void and help them be their own person first before they go looking to be with someone else.

Gilbert Blythe: It’ll be three years before I finish medical school. Even then there won’t be any diamond sunbursts or marble halls.
Anne Shirley: I don’t want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls. I just want you.

Thank you Jonathan Crombie, for embodying in your resilient, gallant character the way girls should be loved. That kind of giving never gets old and encourages us all to be our best.

Be encouraged today.

How did Anne of Green Gables affect you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

All images courtesy of Sullivan Entertainment.

#GilbertBlythe

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