What do George Bailey and George H.W. Bush have in common and what can we learn from them?
First, let’s step back in time to 1945.
George Bailey is the lead character in It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, as his wife, Mary. A holiday classic set on Christmas Eve in 1945, George Bailey is distraught and contemplating suicide. Clarence, a guardian angel, intervenes to show George what life in Bedford Falls would be like if he hadn’t been born.
You see, George wasn’t able to fight in the war, (World War II), but stayed behind to save the family business. He met Mary fresh out of high school and instantly fell in love and won her heart by saying: “What is it you want, Mary? You want the moon? Just say the word, and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.”
George was devoted to Mary, his family and his community.
Clarence helped him see how he made a difference in the lives of many Bedford Falls residents and the community as a whole.
George H. W. Bush our 41st president, did fight in World War II and his plane was shot down in Japan in 1944 and he was said to have asked: “Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?”
In 1945, he married Barbara, the love if his life and the next 73 years were filled with service to our country and dedication to his family and friends.
Interestingly, James Stewart and George H. W. Bush had several similarities. Bother were born into prestigious and privileged families and attended Ivy League schools. Stewart also served in WWII and although he was an avid pilot, was unable to meet the physical requirements to become an aviator. He too, married the love of his life and was married for over 45 years, when his wife died in 1994. And he was quietly active in philanthropic endeavors.
What George Bailey, (and James Stewart) and George Bush had in common was an on the surface, down to earth, kind-of-corney, gosh-golly wholesomeness that people trusted and felt they could count on. Friends and family came first.
Here are some excerpts from our 43rd president, George W. Bush’s eulogy:
He looked for the good in each person, and he usually found it. Dad taught us that public service is noble and necessary—that one can serve with integrity and hold true to the important values like faith and family. He strongly believed that it was important to give back to the community and the country in which one lived. He recognized that serving others enriched the giver’s soul.
George Bush knew how to be a true and loyal friend. He nurtured and honored his many friendships with a generous and giving soul. There exist thousands of handwritten notes encouraging, or sympathizing, or thanking his friends and acquaintances. He had an enormous capacity to give of himself. Many a person would tell you that Dad became a mentor and a father figure in their life. He listened and he consoled. He was their friend.
So as we approach the holidays, with all the hustle, bustle and pressure to get things done…Please take a few minutes to reflect on the tale of two Georges – the impact that they had on peoples’ lives and how they were guided by enduring values of friendship, family and service.
Consider this: those may be the best gifts you can give.
Marty Stanley, CSP, is a national speaker, author and consultant and 2017 Silver Stevie Coach of the Year recipient. She can be reached at 816-695-5453. www.alteringoutcomes.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/martystanley