As one of the founding executives of Walden Media, Chip Flaherty has earned both commercial and critical success. Over the past 17 years, Walden Media has produced more than 30 films including The Chronicles of Narnia, The Giver, and Charlotte’s Web. Flaherty was instrumental in extending the Walden brand into the publishing world, focusing primarily on children's literature. The secret to his success, he says “Comes from faith in the unseen” – a lesson he learned at a young age from a public school teacher who was trying to keep her students engaged during a field trip.
The Lesson That Changed My Life
Chip: When you think about it, what is faith, but hope in the unseen?
Growing up, my dad would always say, "God writes straight with crooked lines. There's something bigger at play." I could quote my mom just as much. She was a strong woman. She was the head nurse on a pediatric unit but she already showed me the strength of women, what they're able to do being, you know, the soul and the backbone of a family.
What's funny, there are so many lessons in life. But one thing that always comes back to me, I was in fourth grade and going on a field trip, which, as you remember when you're in elementary school, you get so fired up. And we're all out in the parking lot waiting for the buses to come to take us to the aquarium and we're looking down the street, nothing. Looking down the street, nothing. The kids are kinda jumping up and down. You start to say, "Oh, good Lord. Is this thing not gonna happen?" And all of a sudden, we see the buses make the turn and start coming down the street and I yell out, "The buses are coming." And my fourth grade teacher said, "They were always coming. We can just see them now."
And it was one of those things, even though I was only in fourth grade, I was like, "Wow, that's a big thing." I knew it was a big concept and it really has informed a lot of things in my life because when you think about it, what is faith, but hope in the unseen? You know, and we couldn't see the buses but we had to have faith that they were coming and it made sense to be standing out and shivering, you know, in a Boston winter to go to the aquarium and things like that.
And I think, when you live the life of an entrepreneur or a producer, or really, anything in life, the key to life is the ability to assume risk for an ideal that you can't even see and you don't even know where it's gonna end up. You take those risks on for that ideal that you don't see and I think that faith in the unseen to realize that, you know, life is bigger than what we see right now.