Life Lessons from Movies- It's a Wonderful Life

It's so neat to hear what someone gets out of a movie and compare it to what you learned or liked. I would have never thought of "what if Dorothy had taken a helicopter" to get to the wizard! She would have missed so much (and there wouldn't have been a movie!) And Tamara's Pursuit of Happyness is one of my all time favorites. I cry just thinking about it.

I had never really watched old black and white movies until I started dating my husband. I am so grateful he introduced me to this. They are of a simpler time but with great messages and creativity. My favorite is "It's a Wonderful Life".

George Bailey was determined to get out of his hometown and see the world after high school. However, the death of his father and other circumstances kept him there to run the family business. He marries a woman he loves and has 4 beautiful children. But he always wished he could have traveled the world and gone to college, as he had dreamed.

The movie really gets interesting when on Christmas Eve George almost loses his business and falls into a deep depression. He goes to into a drunken stupor and is prepared to jump off a bridge- believing his family will be better off with the life insurance they will receive. Suddenly Clarence, an angel in need of his wings, jumps off the bridge to distract him.

As you can imagine, George was angry because he wanted to die. He yells at the angel, "I wish I would never have been born!" So the angel proceeds to show him what life would be like if he had never been born.

Wow! The world would truly be a different place without him. His only brother would have drown as a child because George saved him from falling under a pond of ice. His brother goes off to war and saves several people. Thus, had George never been born, his parents would have been childless and many lives would have been taken in the war.

As a boy, he kept his boss (a Pharmacist) from accidentally giving a customer poison that would have killed a child. His boss would have gone to prison and dealt with the pain of murdering someone his entire life.

As a man, he saved the people in the town from living in slums by giving them loans so they could get affordable housing. This changed all their lives as well as their family's lives and the structure of their town. The list goes on and on. It's so touching to see!

So what are the lessons?

Lesson #1 YOU matter! Your life makes a difference. You may not see how but it does. George realized that his life mattered- even though it didn't work out as he planned- he was making a difference!

Lesson #2- Don't take your life for granted.  George did not realize what he had until it was gone. Isn't that how many of us live? We don't appreciate what we have because we are doing the "hum drum" of life. Once he realized how valuable his life had been and how miserable those around him would have been without him, he couldn't wait to get his life back. The same life he was angry with earlier in the movie.

Lesson #3 The good you do comes back to you. Because George had always cared about people and gave from his heart- his family, friends, and town folks came thru in the end- giving back to him what he had given to them all those years. I won't tell you what happens but it's a beautiful story ending.

My favorite quote at the end of the movie- No man is a failure if he has friends! ~Clarence This is a lesson in itself- if you have friends, you are rich!

There are so many other lessons from this movie, If you get a chance, it would be a great movie for the New Year. It really puts things into perspective.

Tomorrow Joleen will finish up with her favorite movie with lessons. Thank you for reading and Happy New Year to you and your family!

Written by Natalie Chandler

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville