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IMAGE: "Riches harden the heart."

Movie quote from: The Good Earth (1937) - Uncle (Walter Connolly)Good Earth

In The Good Earth, an excellent film from 70+ years ago, the lead characters Wang and O-Lan experience the ups and downs of a life tied to the land.  Although they share common values when they are poor, Wang changes when wealth gives him choice.  Whereas O-Lan draws her values from within, committed to hard work, family, and her husband, Wang looks to society to shape his decisions.  The film raises an important modern-day question, "What does a person consider when making vital life decisions - identity or image?

Wang loved being an enterprising farmer.  His early life decisions and strong work ethic secured survival and some comforts for his family.  He laughed easily, cared for his friends, and dedicated time to his family. 

When good fortune brought him great wealth, he moved his family to a fancy palace, bought expensive clothes, took a second wife, and neglected those he loved.  Image ruled the day and bit-by-bit, Wang lost touch with what really mattered.  Riches hardened his heart.  Know anybody like that?

In The Good Earth, Wang lost himself trying to be agricultural China cool.  Sometimes it is useful to be aware of what other people want you to be (image).  However, this is not the way to find a great love or a great life.  If you want relationships and life activities to be rewarding, you must make choices based on who you are (identity).    

Near the end of the film, a threat to the community's farms caused Wang to take off his silk shirt and work the land with his family and friends.  Re-aquainted with the people and work he loved, Wang didn't make the same mistake a second time.  It's never too late to true up your life.  

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