Saturday Jenna and I saw our first movie in a theater since Khaim was born, only our second date night…Yes, it’s been more than a year. It was bliss! Our movie of choice? The King’s Speech. It was quite an inspirational story, but in reflection I’ve thought less about the internal motivations of the individual and more about the external expectations.
None of us can escape the expectations of our family, friends and others in our circle, and in turn we often expect great things from those around us. Communicating and responding to these expectations appropriately is pivotal in our development and growth as individuals and Christians.
Spoiler alert: Although historical dramas are by nature already spoiled, I’ll give you an opportunity to not read on.
The King’s Speech tells the story of Prince Albert’s struggle to overcome his speech impediment. As the second son of King George V, traditional expectations should not have required him to prepare to be King, but his father, knowing Albert’s strength and courage expected great things out of him. Unfortunately, King George V only knew one way to communicate his expectations and encouragement – through anger and frustration. Many know these experiences of “motivation” that involve yelling, strict discipline and ultimately frustration. It is difficult and frustrating to see a loved one failing to live up to their potential, but a response formed from the pages of Machiavelli lacks the nurturing encouragement of one willing to grow and learn alongside their struggling family.
We often forget the expectations placed on Jesus and his ministry, but I couldn’t help but recall the story of his entry into ministry according to John. Jesus and his disciples are attending a wedding (his mother is also in attendance), and they run out of wine during the festivities. His mother acting as a catalyst and motivator, informs Jesus of this problem (apparently with the implication of Jesus resolving the problem). Jesus, for whatever reason, seems apprehensive, and responds, “Dear woman, what concern is that to you and me? My hour has not yet come.” In full confidence and support of Jesus’ impending actions and also in respect for his own freedom and timing, Mary trusts that Jesus will act, saying to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
The real story in The King’s Speech is Albert’s response when he is called to greatness, persevering to overcome his stammer and his lack of confidence. His wife and Logue, his speech therapist and friend, stood by him the entire way in full confidence and support, knowing like Mary, that there was greatness waiting to pour out onto those around him. One of the great lines of wisdom from The King’s Speech came from Logue’s wife after Albert and Logue had fought over Albert’s potential. She simply reminded Logue, “Have you considered that what you want for Prince Albert isn’t necessarily what he wants for himself?”
Seeing someone grow and develop energizes me and gives me fuel to get up each morning to reach my own potential, and much more so when I am given the opportunity to take part in that development. But as motivators and catalysts to those around us, we have to remember the wisdom of Logue’s wife. We can, in humility, walk with them in their own discovery of God’s call on their life, and we may even be given the opportunity to help them achieve some of that greatness; but we cannot discover it for them.