So many movies have wonderfully classic lines that transfer beautifully into real life. One of my all-time favorites is from “Saving Private Ryan.” Captain Miller, played by Tom Hanks, leads his platoon through numerous deadly battles with the Germans, on their mission to find Private Ryan (Matt Damon) so he can be sent home. Ryan’s four brothers had been killed during D-Day. Captain Miller and what’s left of his squad finally find Private Ryan. With Ryan at their side, they fight one last and particularly gruesome battle against a much larger fortified German division.
[Spoiler Alert] At the end of this battle, Captain Miller is shot and is slumped over and dying when Ryan comes to his side. Miller pulls Ryan’s ear close to his mouth and with his last breath, says to Ryan, “Earn this.”
The next scene shows Ryan, as an old man, crying at Miller’s grave, with Ryan’s family trying to comfort him. Ryan then asks his wife of many years if he’s been a good man. He wanted to be sure he earned the sacrifices made by those who helped save him many years before.
On a much less dramatic, but nonetheless relevant level, each of us have or likely will be given second chances. A job saved; A marriage saved; An illness overcome. These are examples of second chances. We each know what ours are…or will be.
When that second chance comes, earn it.
Be a much better spouse. Don’t just tell but show your husband or wife how much you care.
Be a better parent. Spend the time and emotional energy to demonstrate your love and responsibilities towards your children.
Be a better employee. No longer take for granted what you may have previously thought of as entitlements. Bust your hump to achieve all that is expected of you…and more.
While many of us likely won’t have colleagues give their lives to save us, most of us will have friends, family or co-workers sacrifice a lot for us. When they do, make them proud. Show them it was worth their effort. Appreciate their sacrifice.