June 7, 2019

The Motivational Carrot

Don and I were talking about him, and his ability to draw you into his character.

Tom Cruise.

Whatever you think about him…
His part as American army Captain Nathan Algren, in the film ‘The Last Samurai’, is both captivating and heartrending.

Especially when he talks to Lord Katsumoto (in this film, the leader of the last group of Samurai warriors in Japan) about ‘Honour’.

Initially Algren and Katsumoto had met as bitter enemies.
But now – as they sit in quiet conversation beside the evening campfire…
it is clear that Algren holds an abiding respect – even love – for this enigmatic warrior-lord.

Before the eve of a battle that they’re bound to lose.
Facing a large American-trained army, armed to the teeth with cannons, rifles and large machine guns.
Katsumoto wonders whether the Samurai way “The Way of The Warrior”, from the verb “To Serve”
is relevant in Japanese ‘modern’ 19th century society.

Algren whispers…
What could be more relevant?”

I find myself getting quite emotional during that scene.

And i’m taken back to a seemingly innocent scene that played out in our family, many years ago.
I’ll try to get the story right, since I was busy in my office at the time, doing apparently-very-important things.

One of our young daughters admitted to Mumma that the carrot in her pocket had come from the shop.
When nobody was looking, she had put it there.
Her rabbit had looked so hungry that day.

So, Mumma gently marched the sad, frightened little girl back to the big shop.
And stood beside her as they faced ‘The Man’.

“My daughter has something to tell you” announced Mumma.

Then, quietly, with brimming eyes, our daughter handed the carrot to The Man.

She looked at Mumma, whose eyebrows were raised in a question.
And then she looked back to The Man, and said “I’m very sorry.”

The Man smiled, and responded “Thank you so much for being honest.”
And our little daughter smiled.

It has become part of our family legend.
The forming of Integrity and Honour.

At 6:20 yesterday evening.
When I was running late for a church council meeting.
I remembered that family scene.
Well, it made me turn around and go back to Sainsburys.
When i discovered that the young lady at the checkout had forgotten to scan the 60p recyclable bag.

“Oh, my goodness.” She proclaimed. Obviously surprised.
”Thank you for being so honest!”

Such a little thing.

Doing what we know to be true and right…
When the eyes of the world are busy elsewhere.
And in such small matters.

Honour and Integrity in the tiniest moments of our business.
When nobody is looking.
When nobody will ever know.

“Does it really matter?
When we’re doing brilliant-valuable-service-thingummies for clients already steeped in wealth.
Are these minuscule matters relevant?”

As Captain Algren (and one little girl) might say:
”In a world of increasing shortcuts, expediency and sleight of hand…
What could be more relevant?”