“Hilli-ho! Clear away, my lads, and let’s have lots of room here!” . . . It was 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve and old Mr. Fezziwig from his high perch had ordered work to cease and summoned his young apprentices to prepare the warehouse for a party. The scene is from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and it occurs when the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Ebenezer Scrooge back to a time when he was a young apprentice working for Fezziwig, his most admired mentor. Dickens describes the young lads’ response to their boss’s command this way: There was nothing they wouldn’t have cleared away, or couldn’t have cleared away, with old Fezziwig looking on. It was done in a minute. Every movable was packed off, as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore; the floor was swept and watered, the lamps were trimmed, fuel was heaped upon the fire; and the warehouse was as snug, and warm, and dry, and bright a ball-room, as you would desire to see upon a winter’s night.
Such respect! Had Fezziwig led the young lads to the edge of a cliff and beckoned them to jump they likely would have done so. What was it about him? Well, here’s what Scrooge himself said of his old boss to the Ghost: “He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”
Think for a moment of someone in your own life who wielded such influence, commanded such respect – who you would jump off a cliff for. Was it a parent, grandparent, teacher, boss? What are some adjectives that would describe that person’s character. Recall if you can the “things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up. . .”
Yet, in spite of having such an extraordinary role model as Fezziwig, old Scrooge didn’t get it. Otherwise he would not have become such a miserable self-centered miser. It required warnings from the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, plus three other ghosts to remind him of the past, present and future of his life before he began to integrate Fezziwig’s character into his own.
Now, think again of that someone in your life. Have you found ways to integrate that person’s character into your own? If you have you’ve become a great role model just like Fezziwig – and you might be surprised who would be willing to jump off a cliff for you.