I was just wondering what was on t.v. tonight when I realized, "It's Wednesday - that means Modern Family. Looking forward to it." I have this suspicion that some people will be surprised by that. "But Modern Family is looking to rewrite our American family values: no-fault divorce and remarriage, same-sex 'marriage,' surrogate motherhood." True, that is a part of the show. And no, I do not advocate any of those actions. And yes, I feel that ABC is doing something wrong by trying to further normalize those actions in the American mind. And yet, I enjoy watching this show. Why?
The characters - the loveable, quirky, funny characters. It's well-written comedy; I'd go so far as to call it "Seinfeld-esque." Cameron and Mitchell are living in a same-sex partnership with an adopted daughter and are trying to add another child to their home via a surrogate. There are a number of actions there that I am opposed to and wish were otherwise - but I genuinely like those two characters. When I see them, I register something more than the "issues" they're championing. I see that Mitchell is a bundle of neuroses and that Cam went to clown school - clown school people! That's comedy gold.
Or take Phil. He loves his wife Claire but is infatuated with his father-in-law's new wife, Gloria (played by Sofia Vergara). That's not a good thing. But Phil's obsession with pop culture and the way he embarrasses his kids makes me laugh until I am red. He genuinely tries to do the right thing, but he's flawed. All of these characters are flawed . . . and loveable. Like me. Like you.
That's my life and relationships in the real world too. I love the people in my life. I am deeply opposed to some of their actions, but I love them. It works in reverse too. Because I love them, that does not mean that I will not be opposed to, and saddened by, some of their actions. And because I love them, when the opportunity presents itself, I share my convictions. They are the convictions that used to be shared by our entire society - rooted not just in Faith, but natural law (the objective moral order incumbent upon all humanity).
Why is it that so many today seem incapable of understanding how it is possible to love a person while opposing his/her actions? Love is not celebrating everything a person does. I would gladly give my life for my kids, but that doesn't stop me from giving correction when they are doing something unsafe, or just plain wrong. I don't belittle their persons (call them names or insult their intelligence); I tell them that what they did was wrong and try my best to help them understand why.
I love them, whether they're on the road to canonization or incarceration. And because I love them, I have a responsibility to help them overcome flaws - especially the ones they're oblivious to. (I know, I have to tread lightly - as I hope others will do with me.) Lucky for me though, when I watch Modern Family, I don't have to concern myself with that. I can just sit back and, even if I don't agree with the characters' message or action in a given scene, enjoy the comedy that flows from their well-written personalities.