Chris Black writes:
Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life"
begins and ends on Christmas Eve - and should have a special resonance for anyone who fancies themselves as a community campaigner.
The hero of the film , George Bailey , is a superb
worker for his community - but neglects his family and his home. The only thing that saves him and those he loves from tragedy , bitterness and failure is some supernatural help from an awkward angel, Clarence.
George makes two mistakes. First of all, he is so focussed on his community work he temporarily stops caring about his own family.
"You call this a happy family , why do we have to have all these kids?"
In real life I've seen someone based their lives almost completely
around council work, and it didn't end happily.
Secondly, George sees himself as a failure. When someone calls him a "Miserable little clerk, crawling in on your hands and knees"
he has no answer. And that's also easy to do when you've been a councillor for a while. You forget about the little improvements that you've got done, and only think of the items that haven't
been achieved. So it's important to get the balance right between family, paid employment and council duties, and never get yourself get too discouraged!
If you've never seen the film, you should
. It does have a happy ending ! And you can watch it here on YouTube.