It's A Wonderful Life

Occasionally you run across an article that is so interesting or meaningful that you want to pass it on. Gregg Hillyer has such a piece in the December Progressive Farmer magazine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

It’s a Wonderful Life

A Christmas tradition at the Hillyer household
is to watch Frank Capra’s classic film “It’s
a Wonderful Life.” If you’re unfamiliar
with the story, it revolves around the life of
George Bailey, a man who wants to see the world and
escape the tiny town of Bedford Falls. But a series of
events prevents George from leaving. He marries a
hometown girl and settles down to raise a family and
run the Bailey Building and Loan Association.
George is hopelessly frustrated by a life filled with
disappointments and unfulfilled dreams. On one
eventful Christmas Eve, misplaced funds threaten to
financially ruin his business. Out of luck and out of
time, George contemplates jumping off a bridge into
the frigid water below. But Clarence, his guardian
angel, intervenes before he can leap in.
George is skeptical when Clarence reveals his
identity and responds bitterly that he wishes he had
never been born. So Clarence shows George what life
would have been like if he never existed.
Some would argue, I suppose, the 1947 film is too
simplistic, too sentimental and too superficial in its
portrayal of life and problem solving. And in a world
today where we’re constantly surrounded by cynicism,
conflict and unconcern, it’s hard to disagree.
But this same innocence is what gives the movie
its charm and why my family looks forward to our
annual holiday screening. For within the theatrical
script lies an important lesson that as parents my wife
and I try to reinforce often with our three children:
Success isn’t measured solely by wealth but by the love
of family and friends.
It’s a message that especially bears repeating
during the Christmas season as we pause to
reflect on the past year and count our many
No one probably counts their blessings more
than farmers and ranchers, who are in general
a thankful lot. After all, your livelihood largely
depends on the fickle nature of weather. Who
doesn’t say a quick word of thanks when a
timely rain falls in July or your cow herd finishes
a successful calving season?
Yet farming will always be a challenging
business with good years and bad. There are no
guarantees for success, no matter your skill set
or level of planning. Unfortunately, as operations
have gotten bigger and with it the level of risk, it’s
easy to get so wrapped up running the business
that everything else, it seems, gets pushed aside.
When my twin brother was farming, he
often observed neighbors had stopped being
neighborly. Gone were the days when families
would drop by unannounced on a lazy summer
Sunday afternoon to visit, or farmers would
greet each other on the road and then pull over their
pickups to chat. It bothered him the people he knew
best had become detached from their community.
So during this holiday season, take the time to
show your appreciation to those who really matter
in your life. Reach out and reconnect. For just as
Clarence reminded George: “ … no man is a failure
who has friends.”
Editor in Chief
Gregg Hillyer
Editor In Chief Gregg Hillyer
2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415
Birmingham, AL 35209