The King’s Speech
June 19, 2014
Monday, January 10th, 2011
If you got my office Christmas letter, you know that I wrote about personal transformation. Specifically I mentioned three characteristics generally needed for transformation to be successful: courage, conviction, and community. Since then, I have received numerous wonderful testimonials from people who have told me how their own lives have transformed because of these three characteristics. I have also received several letters from readers saying they realized they were lacking one of the three characteristics and that was exactly what was holding them back and sabotaging their transformation.
In the recent movie, The King’s Speech, the character of King George VI (Prince Albert aka Bertie before he became king) played by Colin Firth, is a poignant example of how a personal transformation can happen when all three of those qualities are in place. In case you haven’t seen it, here is a very brief summary. The king-to-be has a speech impediment that has plagued him his whole life. He has had help but nothing has worked. His wife doesn’t give up on him and finds a new speech therapist, Lionel Logue played by Geoffrey Rush. The relationship between these two men builds slowly, with many ups and downs, and through an emotionally difficult process, the king-to-be begins to heal. He has to confront issues of childhood emotional and physical neglect. He also learns to lean on his true community: his wife, children, a few politicians who support him, and the speech therapist. In the last ten minutes of this film, the viewer is able to witness the personal transformation change the character’s physical appearance as well. You know the challenges aren’t over, but the transformation has taken hold.
Not that it is an unusual thing for me, but I did cry during the king’s speech. To watch these two men who had been in the emotional trenches together, fighting for the higher good of the one which would impact the higher good of the entire country, working together with clear conviction and courage was inspirational. Transformation can happen! It took great courage on both of their parts. For the king-to-be to try again, to trust another person, to delve into those dark places where no one wants to go is just plain scary. For the therapist, to take on a case as potentially public and dangerous induced appropriate trepidation. But most of the courage for the therapist/helper (you could even insert “friend” here) is always that in helping another face their fears, our own fears and weaknesses are exposed. Both men were convicted, not initially but over time as they hung in there together. They both had a tremendous amount of staying power. And the influence of the small community, both men’s wives, children, true supporters, and most especially the relationship between the two men could not be underestimated.
If you want an opportunity to study someone else’s personal transformation, this film can’t be beat. Better yet, though, let me encourage you to think about a personal transformation that you want to make. Then, take the three areas I’ve mentioned, courage, conviction, and community, and think about what you need to put in place to succeed at your transformation. Please send me your inspirational stories!
Amy Sander Montanez, D.Min.
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