I Wish You Courage

Monday, January 2, 2012

Schindler's List was the first.

On December 31, 1994, when our children were eleven and eight, we started a family tradition. We had always taken Caroline and John to the New Year's Eve service at our church, and that didn't change. But now we waited until after church to eat and had a supper consisting of cheese and crackers, raw vegetables, and bagels with cream cheese. And we ate on TV trays in the family room while watching a rented movie.

Schindler's List was rated R, but Roland and I thought our children show know about the Holocaust in all its horror. So we decided to watch the movie with them that New Year's Eve.

Some of the years following didn't have a Schindler's List equivalent, and then we selected lighter fare. But our first choice was always a movie that carried a strong message and was better watched in our presence.

As the children grew up and left home, Roland and I continued the tradition, although we now choose movies just because we want to see them. Last Saturday night's movie, however, fit the original criteria, and it happened by default. I wanted to see the movie, but Roland agreed mostly because he wasn't thrilled with any of the other choices. He thought it was a chick flick, and I expected it to be simple entertainment. We were both wrong.

We watched The Help.

I highly recommend The Help to anyone who hasn't seen it. I don't want to give away too much, but the basic plot revolves around a young journalist writing a book about the lives of black women working as maids in white households. On a deeper level, the movie deals with racism in the South in the early 1960s, and although it has touches of humor, it is also grimly realistic.

And it contains the same message as Schindler's List. Overcoming injustice takes a lot of courage, but it is worth the risk. We don't have to be part of the threatened group, either. Schindler was not a Jew, and the writer in The Help wasn't black. In fact, she was raised to be a typical Southern belle.

So here's my resolution for 2012 and my wish for you this year: to have the courage to take a stand against injustice.

That won't keep us safe, but it will make us better people.

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