While I try not to recommend movies, I do admit to watching them. 🙂 And like most things in this world, most movies I have seen over the course of my life reflect man’s choice to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil — some more from the good, some, regrettably, more from the evil.
That said, a movie that my family has always enjoyed is Secondhand Lions, with Robert Duvall, Michael Caine, and Haley Joel Osment. Recently spending so much time in the car, the kiddos asked to bring that movie along as “Car TV” watching, and it was refreshing to be reminded of some of its scenes.
In particular, one of our favorite scenes is when a group of four “greaser” teens (thus identifying the movie’s time frame) come into a store where Hub (Duvall), Garth (Caine) and “the kid” (Osment) are eating after Hub has gotten out of the hospital and, being the young “Look at me, I’m a tough guy” ruffians they are, they decide to push the “old man” around by taking some of his barbeque off his plate.
Those kids have no idea what they’re in for.
Hub decides to teach them a few things, and in response to the teen’s provocation and impertinent question, “Who do you think you are?” he grabs the threatening teen by the throat (immobilizing him but not chocking him) and addresses him and the rest:
“I’m Hub McCann. I’ve fought in two World Wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and tanks. I’ve seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I’ve won and lost a dozen fortunes, killed many men, and loved only one woman with a passion a flea like you could never begin to understand. That’s who I am.”
The result is a great “bar fight” scene, if you will (the “old man” versus the four “greaser” teens), in which four young men get a bit of a schooling. Eventually, the humbled teens are taken back to Hub and Garth’s farm, where steaks are provided for their bruises, they are cleaned up and fed, and then they get Hub’s “What every boy needs to know about being a man” speech, with a new found respect and fondness showing in their faces.
Now, I don’t endorse “killing many men” nor “bar fights,” of course (you get that, right?), but that scene always gets to me. I have talked to so many older individuals — in their 70s, 80s, and 90s — who have lived such rich lives that no one would ever know about unless they asked.
It’s so easy for younger people to get caught up in their own lives, interests, and concerns, that they often don’t consider taking the time to talk to the elderly person they know, perhaps sitting just a few feet away from them at services. (And when we’re talking about individuals of these ages, guys in their 40s like me count as “younger people”!) Like the teenage greasers in the movie, a young person’s life, experiences, and outlook are all often so much narrower than he or she fully comprehends, and those who have already lived full lives before we were even born not only deserve our respect, but also represent resources of a kind of depth and richness that would probably shock many of us.
God attaches respect and honor given to the elderly directly to respect and honor given to Him:
“You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD.” — Lev. 19:32
That scene and Hub McCann’s words always remind me of that.