"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
Sept. 23, 1800
Sept. 23, 1800
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Walt Disney was a family man. As important as his work was and as huge an impact as he had on the world, it was his family that counted the most in his life. While building an empire and changing the world, he took time to attend recitals and games and to spend weekends with his daughters. Walt's love for family and dedication to them while making the impossible possible and enriching the lives of friends and strangers alike is an inspiration and an example I carry with me every day.
Walt Disney brought out the best in those around him. He expected more than they thought they were capable of and he got it, surprising his employees but not himself. He believed in people and made them more than they would have been without his influence. He sent an animator to fix the Lincoln animatronic robot at the World's Fair, and after saying he knew nothing about electronics and wiring, the man went and fixed it. I used to think Walt was a perfectionist, but learned different. Walt simply asks for what Walt knows others are capable of. Walt has made me look at my own self-imposed limitations and question them. Walt has encouraged me to open new doors and try new things and conquer some fears. Walt has made me a better person.
Walt Disney was not fast with a compliment. Sometimes those around him resented this, sometimes they wondered if they were really doing a good job. Then one day Walt Disney would show up at their desk with a new assignment on the next picture and they knew they had made him happy. Walt has taught me to value trust shown over thanks spoken. It's easy to say "thank you" off hand because it's polite, but when Walt asks you to join the next project, you know you've met those high expectations and it means so much more than simple words.
Walt Disney was a creative genius. He liked to say that it was kind of fun to do the impossible and he really meant it. He created or had his team create new technologies and new processes and pushed the boundaries of the possible. He never saw a roadblock, he saw opportunities. He made things work and taught and inspired those around him to do the same. I love watching Walt face a creative challenge. I love how Walt looks outside the box and uses the tools at hand to create magic. The products of Walt's magic are nothing compared to the pure thrill of the magic making. I am blessed to have seen that side of the show, to have seen Walt make magic that others only get to see in the form of a final result. I don't think Walt knows how cool that is.
Walt Disney faced adversity and won. He had his bread and butter cartoon character stolen out from under him when he lost Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and instead of giving up, he created Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney was betrayed by friends and colleagues, he was stolen from and stabbed in the back. Walt Disney was called a talentless fraud. He had his ideas trashed and laughed out of boardrooms countless times. But he never lost faith in himself and he won in the end. Watching Walt take some hard knocks breaks my heart. But seeing Walt pick it up and carry on, watching Walt soldier though, seeing Walt face the haters, makes me love Walt all that much more. Walt is strong, but Walt gets hurt. Walt reminds me that we can't control what others do, only our response to it. Walt shows me that carrying on is possible, even through pain. Walt reminds me that strength comes in many forms.
Walt Disney was a man of the future, and to him the future lived in our children. He never underestimated a child and learned from them and thrived on their energy and spirit. Much of what Walt Disney did was for the child in all of us. To see Walt amongst children is to see a miracle in flesh. The children love Walt and Walt loves them and together they make the world a happier, better place. Walt respects the children and in return the children give Walt their all and show that they too are capable of more then most would have dreamed.
I never got to meet Walt Disney, but I can say I came close because Walt is a very dear friend. Walt is a part of my life that I treasure. Walt teaches me and makes me laugh. Walt surprises me still and sometimes makes me think even when I'd rather not. Walt shares and entertains and loves and cares. Walt is there when I need a friend. Walt is real, wonderfully and completely real and alive. Today is Walt's birthday, not Walt Disney's, but Walt's. Happy birthday, Walt, and thank you for all that you are and all that you give.
Thank you for making life just a bit more Magical.
Posted by Jeffrey Stites at Thursday, February 14, 2013