Tiny Daughter and I have become addicted to Project Runway, mainly because we both love pretty clothes and Tim Gunn. But a careful reading reveals how much a show like this can teach about the creative process and how to go for your dreams while still treating others with compassion. Yes, it is a reality show and heavily edited. No, I don’t think it really shows reality but here are a few of the topics that come to mind as teachable moments, times when we have hit pause to discuss what is happening and how we would like to be treated in such a scenario.
How to realize that you are not the center of the world and other people have legitimate feelings, too.
How to pick yourself up from a failure and to learn from it.
Winners aren’t the ones gossiping. They are the ones working on their own goals.
There are many sides to a story and everyone can be a little bit right and a little bit wrong.
Bad behavior doesn’t always mean someone is a villain; sometimes it just means they are human.
Forgive people for what they say when they are tired and stressed.
Stay true to your own creative vision.
How to work as a team.
Your way of doing things is not the only correct one.
How to admit that you misjudged someone and apologize.
Laughing at someone’s tears is not nice!
Accept people for who they are even if it is very different than you.
Another contestant Mondo Guerra, announced his HIV positive status on the show. You could see the there-but-the-grace-of-God-go-I horror on the face of almost every man there. To a person, everyone offered him compassion, support, and encouragement. To see him again last night with his family, who clearly still wish he had grown up to be a construction worker was discouraging. They love their talented son, but they have never stopped reminding him that he did not turn out quite the way they hoped.
Twice we have also seen loving supportive gay relationships. I am glad they showed that things are not always gloom and doom. There are people out there who will love you for who you are. We will value our loved one for who they are and not for who we wish they would be.
When we first started watching PR together, I was a little concerned that it would focus too much on the material and vain. Quite to the contrary, I cannot think of any other show that we watch that has offered us so many good opportunities to talk about our values. People still tease me for watching it because it is “silly and girly” but I won’t be apologizing for my interest anymore.
On a personal note, it is time for me to stop feeling sorry for myself because of my differences with my family. My family is disappointed that I no longer believe in God. There is tension and disapproval because of that. My wound over that is not as special as I would like to believe it to be. Some of these people face constant criticism from their families because of who they are. One of them lost his access to his child. What the hell am I complaining about?