I love the movie “Christmas Vacation” with all its goofiness and one-liners. I was thinking about people this morning, and what value I place on them when I had an image of Frank Shirley; Clark Griswold’s boss pop into my head.
At the end of the movie, Cousin Eddy has kidnapped Frank and brings him to Clark as a Christmas present. After Clark tells him what a lousy thing he’s done by suspending all the Christmas bonuses, Frank reconsiders the decision he made and says, “Sometimes things look good on paper, but lose their luster when you see how it affects real folks. I guess a healthy bottom line doesn’t mean much if to get it, you have to hurt the ones you depend on. It’s people that make the difference. Little people like you. So, Carl… whatever you got last year, add… 20%.”
It is a feel good moment in the movie, but I know I wasn’t thinking about this scene today just so I could have a chuckle. No, it is because if I was to be totally honest with you, the truth is; I am Frank Shirley when it comes to people and the relationships in my life.
I have to remind myself daily people are important and have not been placed in my way just to cause me problems. Okay, so this is not the best revelation about me I’ve ever shared, but it’s true none the less.
I’m a driven person who likes to get things done. For me, if I’ve got something on my to-do list, then I’ve got to check it off the list before taking time to do anything else, including spending any time talking, or developing my relationship with others. I guess this makes me look like a jerk even though I’m not; I just have this need deep down inside to finish what I’ve started before doing anything else.
I’ve heard it said the most important thing in life are the relationships we make. I have to ask myself, how well have I done this? At the end of my life what will be said about me? Will there be hundreds of people at my funeral saying I was a good man who loved his family and friends well, or will the consensus be I was a good man, but one who placed a higher priority on getting stuff done instead of people?
This kind of makes me think maybe I am a jerk. I don’t want to be thought of this way, so it looks like a change is in order. Where do I go from here? How do I learn to place a higher value on people than I do right now? Will it take being kidnapped by someone’s crazy family member to get me to the place where I’ll make the necessary changes? I hope not.
Help me out here, what things do you do to build and develop the relationships in your life? How do you juggle the need to get things done, and not pushing people aside while you’re doing them? Post in the comments please, because I don’t want to be Frank Shirley anymore.
Now you know what I think, tell me what you think.