Wednesday with Walt: Preserving the Legacy

My husband said the sweetest thing this past weekend and I just have to share it. After a memorial service we attended, he was talking to his sister and told her that there are two people I cannot wait to meet for the first time, face to face in Heaven: Jesus and Walt Disney. Now, he certainly was not saying that Jesus and Walt are on the same level. Still, he knows how hard I try to keep Walt’s hopes and dreams alive and what a special person I believe he was. Then he said the nicest thing; he told me that he thinks that the first thing Walt would say is that he appreciates how I have sincerely tried to keep his legacy alive.
That meant so much to me.  You see, I believe that living the life that God has intended for me directly involves spreading love to my fellow man in my own way, the Disney way. He knows my heart is faithfully involved in trying to make people’s lives better by spreading kindness and good will to them.
Walt’s life has taught me to dream big and work hard. He really cared about people and that is so important. I thank God that I am able to feel the same way, that I have empathy and compassion.  I do what I do as a tribute to Him, and in appreciation to Walt, as well as a way of impacting the little world around me as, it is, a small world after all.

I try to be fair, generous and compassionate. To me, Walt Disney was a great example of this kind of living. I believe that he was of exceptional character. I grew up believing that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. I am not one to speak up for myself, but when it comes to standing up for someone else I have no problem, especially when it is clear that someone is being unfairly judged or accused of something.

Walt Disney was a strong man. There was a common misconception that he was a sentimental softy. He was sentimental, that is true, but when the situation called for it he was tough. In “The Fantastic Walt Disney” published in 1964, Bill Davidson described a situation that happened once in the Disney Studios. He said:

“Not long ago a well-known executive came over from another film company to work as an associate on a Walt Disney production. The first day on the job the executive was annoyed by the sound of a lawn mower outside his window, and he shouted at the gardener to desist. An hour later the executive received a call from Disney’s secretary, informing him that Disney wanted to see him. The executive rushed over and Disney said, “You spoke harshly to that man. He’s been with me for twenty years. I don’t want it to happen again.” The executive mumbled a contrite, “Yes, sir.” Disney continued, “And there’s another thing I want you to remember. There’s only one s.o.b. at this studio – and that’s me.”

To some people that might seem like Walt was a cruel man. To me, it says that Walt had integrity. It seems to me that there is not enough of this type of integrity today. I am not saying that we shouldn’t be tolerant, but people should stand up for what they believe in. All too often, the loudest voices are the ones who don’t have this kind of integrity. 

My family and I have been actively pursuing ways to fight against something we feel is a great injustice in our own community. A gentleman in a town near ours was born with a specific congenital heart ailment and now, at 46, has reached the point where his only hope for survival is a heart transplant. He is a kind, soft-spoken gentleman and nothing means more to him than being here for his children and being able to watch his grandchildren grow up. Unjustly, in our opinion, there is one woman who was hired as the transplant coordinator at the Houston heart hospital and she alone decides who does and does not get added to the transplant list to wait for a heart. She has set forth stipulations for him, the main one being that he is required to raise $20,000 on his own before she will even add him to the list. This is just to be added to the list to be able to wait for a heart. This is UNJUST and we are very angry. We will do whatever we have to do to help. Standing up for what we believe in is very important to us. After all, we believe that grace is the gift we extend to those who wrong us, but integrity is what drives the heart to refuse to compromise on matters of principle.
To be able to acquire success and give back was truly a great gift he received. The importance of his contribution to this world cannot be misunderstood, he was placed here at exactly the time he was supposed to be to reach people in exactly the way he did. I hope to reach people too. I hope that if you are reading this you know that people still genuinely care for each other. The world is a big place. It is so important for us all to understand the importance of sharing it with one another.  
Buzz Price, a friend of Walt, once said, “Once he (Walt) was in your life, he never let you go, even after he died. His personality was so permeating. It was a baggy pants, old shoe kind of personality, but it was a penetrating force. Walt dominated my life without even trying.” I can certainly understand that. He has done the same in my life even though he died when I was 2 and I never met the man.
Walt’s spirit still lives on. Generation after generation will fall in love with him all over again. I hope that spirit will drive them to keep pushing toward keeping the good in this world.
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7 Comments on "Wednesday with Walt: Preserving the Legacy"

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Kelly McSmith
6 years 5 months ago

Really liked this post! God has called us to live our lives doing what He has called us to do…I believe Walt did that daily.

6 years 5 months ago

Thank you so much, Kelly. I totally agree!!!

6 years 5 months ago

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6 years 5 months ago

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