Sunday, December 26, 2010

True Grit

The old True Grit with John Wayne is my favorite movie.  It was tested last night when my family went to see the new True Grit with Jeff Bridges. I really enjoyed many parts of the new film.  But, the old one still holds my heart with memorable scenes like Glen Campbell in the boarding house and John Wayne in his final charge into the bad guys.  And, I liked the happier ending in the old movie (even though Glen Campbell died).  Both are great films.

In case you haven't seen the movies, Maddie Ross is a fourteen year old girl intent on avenging her father's murder.  She was seeking a man with "true grit" to go after her father's killer.  She chose Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne/Jeff Bridges), not because he was a "good" federal marshall, but because he got the job done, usually with little regard for those who got in his way.  He was wild and rough, but "Little Sister," Maddie, won a place in his gruff heart.
Who is the braveheart in the film?  On the surface, it was Marshall Rooster Cogburn.  Maddie was seeking a man with "true grit" who would help her find her father's killer.  And, she was confident she had found him in Rooster.  But, Maddie confessed later that maybe she had picked the wrong man for "true grit" when Rooster faltered.  She had actually found two strong men to fight, but men less than perfect and turned  at times by selfishness and money (Rooster Cogburn and Texas Ranger Glenn Campbell/Matt Damon).

Who is the person in the movie with real "true grit," the real braveheart?  Unfaltering, courageous, steadfast, persistent, and sacrificial? 

It is Maddie herself.

The men served a purpose, helping Maddie with her passion.  How did she get such strong men to help and to actually follow her?  Her passion.  Nothing would get in the way.  An attitude of "get on board or I will find someone else."  Her noble call to bring her father's killer to justice drew big men to her side.  But, she was the one with real true grit, the braveheart in the movie.

Passion usually trumps giftedness, money, and pain in a braveheart's life.  A commitment to a noble cause takes the braveheart outside self and often into risky and difficult situations.  While I am a big believer in knowing our strengths and using them well, passion for a cause or a person will take a braveheart outside his or her areas of strength and ease.  Weaknesses can be compensated by others with the right strengths, like Rooster did for Maddie.  But, it is the commitment to a noble cause that leads and transcends weakness and difficulty.

How do we get our children to develop passions for noble causes that will drive them out of ease and into making a difference?  Here are a  few ideas.  Maybe you can think of  others.
* Be an example:  What is important enough in our lives as parents to choose risk and difficulty?
* Show ideas and needs:  Personally, in print, at the dinner table, or in film let them see real needs.
* Applaud trying:  Encourage them when they take a risk for another person or an idea.
* Prepare them: Help your children practice tackling challenges so they know they can and have confidence.
* Hold them loosely:  Don't force your passions and life plans on them, let God lead their hearts, encouraging when you can.

Maddie was the real braveheart with "true grit."
Passion triumphs.
The big guys follow heart.  Even Rooster.


  1. Loved the movie too. Watched it again this week and looking forward to seeing the remake at some point.

    Totally agree. Maddie is the one with True Grit!


  2. Because of her true grit... she inspired Rooster to do what he did in the last scene... which was amazing and emotional.
    Thanks for this post!