Life Lessons I Learned From The Movies








“Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.” James Joyce

Last week was exciting. I gave my first Ignite presentation. For those of you who have  not heard of Ignite it is a presentation about any topic you like but the “rules” are it must be only 5 minutes and 20 slides at 15 seconds per slide ( Preparing for this I thought about my goal for 2013 blogging  to share posts around the life lessons I have learned over the years. That is, significant events in my life and what I learned from them. With that in mind my presentation was title “Life Lessons I Learned From the Movies.”

Growing up, my mother worked outside the home, very common today but not exactly common place in the 50’s. Some of my most vivid memories are from when she ran the concession stand at the local movie theater.  We, my two brothers my sister and I, were fortunate because we got in to the movies for free. This was something we certainly took advantage of and you could normally find us spending Saturday afternoons at the matinée. My favorite movies included horror films, not because there was anything particularly interesting to me in them, but because they scared the heck out of my little sister. You need to understand that both my older and younger brother were typical boys and they would rather be dragged through cold mud than be seen sitting in the movie theater with either of their sisters. Thus it fell to me as the older sibling to sit with my little sister in the theater. Please don’t think I am too very cruel, she is only a few years younger than I, but you know for all of our sisterly love today the early years were another matter. She was the sibling we all loved to tease because she would scream and cry at the sight of an ant. So picture her beside me in the theater at my film genre of choice — oh how her screams of fear filled me with childish delight. It was a good thing that we got in to see the movie for free because my sister surely only saw half of it and that through her fingers.  I rationalized my behavior by letting her know that this helped to “toughen her up for life and have no fear!”  I will say that today she learned her lessons well. She has traveled all over the world and spends her winters diving in the Cayman’s. One could ask where I went wrong that she has the adventurous life today?

Many other movies had an impact on the person I am today. One from those early formative years included Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life.” I remember being fascinated by the thought of the hidden impact we have on the world around us.  I would like to think that the lesson I learned from this was to keep in mind as I travel through life to leave a positive impactful trail.  A simple example of this might be a recent shopping trip to my favorite retail establishment, “Le Targe`'” better known to you as the local Target store.  As I was waiting in line to check out, the customer in front of me was a bit disgruntled for some reason and was taking it out on the young clerk. As she left and he proceeded to ring up my purchases the smile on his face had faded.  I noticed his name tag read “Wolfgang.” So I asked him if his friends called him “Wolfie?” He replied that, “yes they do.” With a smile I said that Wolfgang was a big name to live up to and he replied that it was an old family name. His smile had returned by this time and as I finished loading my purchases into my cart I smiled at him and said “thanks Wolfie, see you next week.” As I left the store I looked back and noticed that the smile had returned to Wolfie’s face and he was cheerfully ringing up the next customer.

It only takes a few minutes to make a positive or negative impact. I’d like to think I leave more of the former than the latter.

More next post on other movies that have molded the person I am today, but until then think about the trail you leave through your life. It’s not too late to start making conscious positive impressions. Even the smallest thing can change the world. Well at least that’s what I believe.