Some Thoughts on Giving from Sean & Leigh Anne Tuohy

February 1st, 2011
February 1, 2011

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Whoah! Happy February to you, though with all this snow around here, I’m wishing April and May get here quickly!

I had such a great opportunity to recieve an advance copy of In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, the dynamic couple of The Blind Side fame.

A causal perusal turned into a hearty devouring. I literally ate it up.

In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving

This little jewel got me thinking about the nature of giving: how really it doesn’t need to involve money.

Yes, the Tuohys had it, but their adopted son, Michael Oher, probably didn’t care if he was in a gigantic house or in a small apartment. He simply needed a roof and love.

It’s instead an attitude of paying attention to what people need around you and looking for opportunities to give, especially those where you don’t need to be asked.

This idea brought to mind an experience the Running Man and I had several years ago when we were driving across Ohio in one of our 12-hour marathons to get from Connecticut to Michigan. We were stopped at night after 8 or so hours of driving at a rest stop on I-80 with our babies in the back, when there was a knock on our driver-side window. A man leaned in and asked for money to get home to Indiana. He said that he, his wife and baby had no food, and no money to pay for gas and the necessary tolls. I could make excuses that we were surprised to be asked at night, with our babies in the car, but the truth was that we were a little uncomfortable and made some excuse to get going.

Back on the highway, however, we felt awful. We had probably traveled 2 miles when I remembered I had baby food in the back of the car. How easy would that have been to give to this man? We went back and forth for the next hour, thinking of all the things we could have done and just generally admonishing ourselves for how we had handled the whole situation. We really blew it. Now I realize that it caught us off-guard – we weren’t making it a habit to look for ways to help others.

The Tuohys talk about the Popcorn Theory: “You can’t help everyone. But you can try to help the hot ones that pop right up in front of your face.” So pay attention, or the moment will pass you by, as it did us on that dark interstate.

But, fortunately, there have been, and will be, opportunities for redemption. Opportunities to give of ourselves abound – a quiet, personal, active and cheerful involvement in giving to others.

And if you haven’t seen the movie in a while, or perhaps ever, please don’t wait another minute. Amazon has it for $7.99. Seriously I can’t think of a better use for $7.99.

How do you give? Are there unusual ways or things that you give without money? Are there other inspiring stories of giving that you’ve heard?