Words of Wisdom from Jim Henson

I'm finishing up a study guide that I am writing for BAM on "The Muppet Movie."  In a few months, hundreds of elementary school students in Brooklyn and Manhattan will pile into BAM Rose Cinemas to experience what was one of the first movies I saw growing up--at the Edgemere Drive-in, snuggled in a car with my mom and dad and my new baby sister who had just been born that year.

I'm so excited for this generation of young people to experience Jim Henson's brilliance, and have been deeply inspired by his work-ethic, his artistry, his life-philosophy and his generous spirit as I've been writing this guide. 

What follows is an excerpt from the book, "Jim Henson:  The Works--The Art, the Magic, the Imagination."  I hope it inspires you as much as it inspires me:

I believe that life is basically a process of growth-that we go through many lives, choosing those situations and problems that we will learn through.

I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best. I know I drive people crazy with what seems to be ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked out for me.

I believe in taking a positive attitude toward the world, toward people, and toward my work. I think I'm here for a purpose. I think it's likely that we all are, but I'm only sure about myself. I try to tune myself in to whatever it is I'm supposed to be, and I try to think of myself as a part of all of us-all mankind and all life. I find it's not easy to keep these lofty thoughts in mind as the day goes by, but it certainly helps me a great deal to start out this way.

I love my work, and because I enjoy it, it doesn't really feel like work. Thus I spend most of my time working. I like working collaboratively with people. At its best, the film and television world functions creatively this way. I have a terrific group of people who work with me, and I think of the work that we do as "our" work.

I don't know exactly where ideas come from, but when I'm working well ideas just appear. I've heard other people say similar things-so it's one of the ways I know there's help and guidance out there. It's just a matter of out figuring out how to receive the ideas or information that's there waiting to be heard.

At some point in my life I decided, rightly or wrongly, that there are many situations in this life that I can't do much about-acts of terrorism, feelings of nationalistic prejudice, cold war, etc.-so what I should do is concentrate on the situations that my energy can effect.

I believe that we can use television and film to be an influence for good; that we can help to shape the thoughts of children and adults in a positive way. As it turned out, I'm very proud of some of the work we've done, and I think we can do many more good things.

When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope still is to leave the world a little bit better for my having been here.

It's a wonderful life and I love it.