I love movies. I love movies that teach us lessons. I love movies that bring me to tears.
I don’t watch much television, but one of my favorite activities is family movie night. I recently picked a movie that no one else in our family had seen and told them I thought it was important for everyone to see it.
Radio is based on the true story of the relationship that formed between James Kennedy (played by Cuba Gooding, Jr.), a boy with special needs whose nickname is Radio, and Harold Jones (played by Ed Harris), a South Carolina high school football coach. Coach Jones went out of his way to help Radio become part of the football team and part of the T.L. Hanna High School community.
Coach Jones endured criticism from people within the school and community who did not understand why he was doing that. They also believed the extra attention he was giving to Radio was causing problems with the football team (in other words, they were not winning as many games as they should). Eventually, as the result of a conversation he had with his daughter, we found out that when Coach Jones was a young boy he once encountered a boy with disabilities who was locked underneath his porch, and he regretted that he never did anything to help him.
Radio loved to be a part of the football and basketball teams and would do almost anything to please the players and be accepted. At one point, Johnny, one of the star players, tricked Radio into going into the girl’s locker room by telling him the female PE teacher wanted to speak with him.
This incident caused a huge problem. However, not only did Radio refuse to tell anyone that Johnny was the one who told him to do it, but he continued to treat Johnny with the same care and compassion that he had previously.
Radio’s mother told Coach Jones that Radio had a good heart. However, most people didn’t take the time to see it.
But Radio saw everyone through the eyes of his heart.
This is the reason why Johnny went through a transformation and began to treat Radio with care and respect. This is the reason that Radio inspired a football team, a school, and a community and, thanks to the movie, he can continue to inspire us.
At the end of the movie when Coach Jones told the community he was stepping down as football coach because he did not want to cause a distraction and wanted to continue to look after Radio, he made the statement, “The truth is, we’re not the ones that have been teaching Radio. Radio’s the one been teaching us.”
So what can we learn from Radio?
I have learned that too often I look at people through my head, and my head is cluttered with judgments and perceptions.
And I have learned I can be a much better person if I will rise above my own mind and look at people through the eyes of my heart.
One of the best parts of that movie night was when the movie ended and my oldest son said, “Thanks for that, Dad.”
I strongly encourage you to watch Radio with your team or family, even if you have seen it before. I guarantee you will be inspired to be a better person; however, there is no need to thank me.
It is the people like Radio who live with greatness and inspire us to want to do the same that we should be thankful for.
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