Category Archives: quotes

Wednesday is a day for the movies

The holes we leave behind.

We all have favourite movies. It’s funny how some of them stay with us through life? The movie I often claim to be my ‘favourite’ is the 1979 Peter Yates film ‘Breaking Away‘. It takes the top spot for me for a number of reasons, and I know there have probably been far superior films in terms of cinematography, acting, screenplay etc, but I do love this film.

Why? In the early 1980’s our family got a video recorder. My dad recorded this film, and I’m sure it would have been recorded over like so many others, but this one stayed – in no small part probably due to a son who was mad keen on cycling at the time, so a film where the principal character does a lot of cycling was unusual, and of huge interest to me then, that I probably pestered him to keep it and not wipe over it.

It’s a coming of age film, where a group of town teenagers feel their position threatened by the incomers to their town attending the university. It charts part of their first year out of school, coming to terms with life in the real world, how they relate to peers and family, and what they each learn in different ways taking the big leap into adulthood.

Whether it’s a simple byproduct of watching a film far too many times in my life (although, that said, it’s been a number of years since I’ve watched it now), but I feel I could watch this film with the sound turned down – I’d miss the beauty of the soundtrack (Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Rossini’s Barber of Seville Overture, Von Flotow’s Martha, to name but a few), but I could probably fill in all the dialogue myself.

What makes a film strike a chord with us? What makes a film become a favourite? For me, it’s either that the film has been beautifully crafted, or I connect with some aspect of it on an emotional level.

One of the main themes of the film is the relationship between ‘Dave Stoller’ (Dennis Christopher) and his father ‘Ray Stoller’ (Paul Dooley). In one scene, they go for a walk in the campus. Dave’s father Ray was previously a stone cutter, and remarks about the fact that he and his former colleagues cut the stone for the university buildings:

Ray: “And the buildings went up. When they were finished, the damnedest thing happened – it was like the buildings is too good for us. Nobody told us that – it just felt uncomfortable, that’s all. Even now, I’d like to be able to stroll through the campus and look at the limestone, but I just feel out of place.”

Ray: “You guys still go swimming in the quarries?”

Dave: “Sure”

Ray: “So, the only thing you’ve got to show for my 20 years of work are the holes we left behind”

I love this bit of dialogue – a father and son having an awkward discussion about the sons future – whether he will go to college, and achieve everything he is able to. How his father feels about him, and what he hopes for him. At the same time, reflecting on his own achievement, and what that means for his son. Add to this the typical unhealthy unease at either of them sharing their feelings, and it’s a great scene.

Dave’s dad was a stone cutter, so he literally left holes behind in the ground from where the stone was cut out the earth. I wonder, what are the metaphoric holes we leave behind? Last week I quoted Gandhi, in that “everything we do is insignificant, but it’s really important that we do it anyway”.

I think we need to be proud of the holes we leave behind, no matter what size they are.

image credit: SandersQuarryIndiana by Sphinxcat, under a Wikimedia Commons licence.

Do, or do not.

Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford

I’m the very proud father of a two year old son. Each day, I watch him try out new things, without a fear in the world of something going wrong. So far it seems, he has little concept of this – he just does things.

At some point, I’m sure this will go. He, just like other children, will probably begin to question whether he can achieve things, where as right now he’s happy just to do.

I think Ford presents a lovely picture for us. Unless we turn out thoughts into action, we’ll never know the outcome. Perhaps we need to be more childlike in our approach to trying things out?

Tuesday is a day for random acts…

adrig72 - pay it forward

I say Tuesday, but in all honesty, any day ought to be a day for random acts! I’m just going to use Tuesday to talk about them.

Over the coming weeks, Tuesday will be a day that I talk about my random acts, but to kick things off, I thought it best to talk about one in particular that’s much more than I could ever achieve.

Pay it forward.

What is ‘Pay it forward?’ – well, simply put, don’t repay a good deed with a returned favour – instead repay it with a good deed for someone else.

Traditionally, this may have been seen as a greek concept, but was best described by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody. – Compensation, 1841

This concept has grown so huge, it’s started a foundation, and even had a Holywood movie about it. What a lovely simple concept though – don’t just help one person in return, help others.




Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it anyway. – Mahatma Gandhi

ruojo - 5 Thursday

I think we have a problem of motivation in our world today. All too often, I think the reason people do things is because of some inflated sense of self-importance, or mis-fed belief that they will become renowned for what they do. For many, their aspiration is to be famous, rather than contributing to the betterment of society by their simple daily acts.

I love the juxtaposition of ‘insignificant’ and ‘very important’ – they seem on the face of it contradictory. The simple fact of the matter is this – much of what we do will affect very few people, or indeed do little to improve the lives of others. I believe the key point here however is that everything we do, insignificant and small though our actions be, affects others, as our small actions are part of a much, much bigger whole.

Perhaps we ought to take pride in our small acts, instead of vainly hoping for an elusive prize of fame or fortune.

Monday is ‘quote’ day…

Do not conform to the standards of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2

There’s something about a Monday that makes most people look for a spring in their step, or something to ponder to set them up for the week.

I plan therefore to use each Monday to share one of my favourite quotes with you, and reflect a little on its meaning.

Today to kick things off, I’ve chosen my favourite section of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. As virtually everything around us in the media tells us to conform, I love this declaration – don’t conform to the standards of the world. Renew your mind, and think about what is good. We live our lives constantly bombarded by other people telling us what we should do or think, or how we should fit in. Our media attempts to sell us a lifestyle that we should aspire to, or worse still, be in debt in order to realise. We need to think for ourselves, and question whether what the world suggests we do is the right path.

Fair enough – the reflection bit of the posts in future may be a bit longer! Give me a break though, eh? I haven’t been blogging for about two years!