The 1995 film Mr. Holland’s Opus starred Richard Dreyfus as a high school music teacher, following his 30-year career as he touched many lives making them better.  The main theme of the movie is character development as Mr. Holland teaches so many students more than just the love of music.  More importantly, he teaches them how to be better people.  Moreover, he becomes a better person along the way himself as he learns that life is more about serving others and having a positive impact rather than becoming rich and famous.  Also, the title of the movie suggests that Mr. Holland’s crowning achievement, his magnum opus, is really the work that he did over a lifetime influencing young people and raising a family rather than the musical work that he had always dreamed about completing in order to become rich and famous.  One of the most poignant points of the movie is when he takes a spoiled and precocious young man under his wing, Stadler, trying to break him out of his narcissistic laziness and getting him to take life more seriously.  He gets his point across by making Stadler meet him on a Saturday seemingly as some sort of punishment for his behavior. 

However, instead of punishing Stadler, Mr. Holland takes him to the funeral of one of his students who had just died serving his country in Vietnam.  While standing watching the funeral, Mr. Holland and Stadler briefly converse about the soldier being buried.  Mr. Holland explains that the soldier had been one of his students, Louie Russ.  The viewer then realizes by the name of the soldier that it was one of the characters that appeared earlier in the movie who had struggled just to learn.  Mr. Holland drives home the point that Russ took nothing for granted since he struggled so hard and that he greatly appreciated his meager success in simply graduating, so it is understood that Stadler, standing with him watching the funeral, has much more talent and should, therefore, take his life more seriously.  We see by his reaction that Stadler clearly understands this point, and we are left to assume that this results in him straightening up his life.

Character development is a process that we all go through, although some of us take it more seriously than others, wanting to become better people who make a positive impact on the world.  This is the main goal of sanctification, the process of training that God takes us through over a lifetime after our moment of salvation, when we accept Jesus into our hearts.  The moment of salvation is not a culminating point.  It is a mere beginning.  There is so much to learn over a lifetime, but if we spend the time with God in prayer so that He can put His wisdom and power into us to gradually change us, bit by bit, we will become much better people over the long haul.  Of course, this also requires submission at so many junctures over a lifetime as we learn to give up our way and our control to the Lord.  It is a long process that doesn’t end in our lifetime.  We can never stop learning or growing, and it is usually the same lessons that God keeps bringing us back to as we need a lifetime to perfect these habits. 

Additionally, we put ourselves into God’s hands for these lessons by meditating on His truth as revealed in His scripture, or through various sources in life that He guides us to, including people, or as He reveals to us in prayer.  As we encounter and accept each bit of truth, this process will keep us constantly redirected and on course.  One way to think of this process is to imagine it just like the steering of your car while you are driving.  You normally do not make dramatic moves, scaring other drivers and attracting the attention of the police, although it happens for various reasons (a bee in the car, hot coffee in the lap, etc.).   You usually make slight nudges one way or the other, to maintain the car’s straight path forward.  Of course, you may have to make stops and turns, but all of these are pre-determined as we keep our eyes ahead on the road to see what we must react to or what we are driving to, and then executing planned, well-practiced maneuvers to guide the vehicle safely through the situation or to the destination.  Steady and smooth with forethought and balance in all things.  This is how our walk with God should be with Him giving us gentle nudges to correct our path periodically.  Of course there are crises in life that are inevitable and which will have an impact on our choices and exercise our principles, but if we keep well-practiced in using our moral principles and constantly praying or meditating on His word, even in these difficult situations, we can keep an even course, keeping our eyes always on the Lord and staying on the straight and narrow path.

I pray that you will all grow a little more each day, spending time with God and meditating on His word, so that the truth is built up in you a little more each day. 

 


Comments

01/22/2014 2:42am

This was wonderful! I'm a little slow on the commenting, but this was a marvelous entry.

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10/09/2017 1:51am

A serious topic discussed by the writer which is reason of concentration of every one. A character development is based on the growing age of the person which turns into maturity with time. A good character person is missed and discussed in good words when he is alive and even after death.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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