Integrity Matters
July 13, 2005

Movie reminds us of our 'Field of Dreams'

Question: (E-190)

Dear Jim:

Can Hollywood movies encourage values like integrity?


Certainly. One admirable example is the 1989 fantasy movie, "Field of Dreams."

Kevin Costner portrays an Iowa farmer who constructs a baseball diamond in his cornfield at the repeated urging of a mystical voice that intones to him, "If you build it, they will come..."

That farmer, Ray Kinsella, comes face to face with his father, John Kinsella, and the two of them ask important questions of each other.

The ghostly father, presented in his youth as a professional baseball player, looks around the beautifully manicured ballfield and asks of the young farmer, his son: "Is this heaven?" "No," his son replies. "This is Iowa."

After a short pause, the son, appearing uncertain and perplexed, inquires of his father, "Is there a heaven?"

"Oh, yes, there is a heaven," comes the reply. "Heaven is where dreams come true."

Actor James Earl Jones, plays the 1960s activist and writer, Terence Mann, in "Field of Dreams." He summarizes the meaning of the moment for the Iowa farmer, offering this insight: "Here we are today, longing for the past and for all that was good then, and could be good again."

The movie makes the point that we can capture the best of who we were by being the best of what we know to do, now. "Field of Dreams" is about integrity, accountability and stewardship.

Earlier in the film, the farmer is carefully watching his father, explaining to his wife that he "really only knew my father when he had been worn down by life."

Once again, the message from the film is clear: Life is a precious cycle, and constructive relationships are what make it meaningful and hopeful.

"Field of Dreams" teaches: "What we do, both the good and the generous, quite often we do for ourselves." Giving can be a selfish act of caring. Exhibiting such behaviors as honesty, partnership and graciousness is an effective way of passing along life-affirming values. There is no substitute for being a positive role model.

Our individual "Field of Dreams" is that portion of the world for which we accept responsibility. The relationships we build and sustain will be the true measure of who we are and how we operate. If you build them - substantive relationships - they will come. Invest the energy in people and savor those heavenly moments when your dreams come true.

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