Is it a Wonderful Life?

by Ron Potter

From the movie “It’s a wonderful life” George Bailey and his angel, Clarence.

Clarence was a wonderful gift for George.  Unlike us, Clarence was able to show George what life would have been like if he had never been born.

What did George learn from that experience?


Let’s take a minute to remember the overall storyline.  Many of us have seen the movie at Christmas time through the years.

In the movie, George has a great yearning to travel and see the world.  Right after he is married and on his way for their first adventure with his new wife, the stock market crashes.  George worked for his father’s local building-and-loan business.  When it was obvious that something was wrong, George abandoned his trip and went into the building-and-loan to help with the chaos.  Pretty soon, George found himself stuck in the life he wanted to get away from.

Something Just Crashed and Went Wrong

Not only are we facing the changing world of Covid, as I wrote about last week, but the United States suffered the weakest growth for the ten years following the 2008 crash and recession.  It seemed that we were being told by our own government “get used to it, this is the new normal”.  I found myself getting depressed and worried over that attitude.

I also find myself even more worried today as I watch my grandchildren (ages 13-20) face this very scary new norm.  One article I read said, “many young people have lost hope seeing their labor produce so little reward”.  I consider myself very blessed in that all of my grandchildren have a good work ethic.  I even mentioned to one granddaughter that I lose track that she’s only a junior (now senior) in high school because she works so hard.   She seems all grown up going to school and working most afternoons and evenings.

And yet I hear her and some of her cousins speaking fondly of socialism.  But as one article said, “when the rewards for working and sweating end, prosperity withers and freedom dies”.

The Gift of Clarence

In the movie, George is actually able to meet his angel …it’s a movie.  It doesn’t fit with my Christian beliefs 😉 and this pays off in a wonderful reward.  George is thinking he would be better off if he had never been born.  Clarence allows George to see the world as if he had never existed.  George sees a very dismal world because he was not in it working hard, caring, helping, and loving.

Be a Clarence

Be a friend.  Be a mentor.  Be a parent.  Be a grandparent.  Help others —young people, children, and grandchildren see and experience A Wonderful Life.  It may not seem like they’re listening at the time but you would be amazed how much it sticks with them.  I remember mentors from decades ago.  I still remember their words, the circumstances of the situation, and the fact that they cared enough to share with me.  I may not have told them how much it meant but their words still stick with me today.

Be a mentor.  Share with someone.  Take time to talk with someone.  You may not be immediately rewarded but the lessons and wisdom you pass on will pay rewards for years to come

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