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Monday, July 19, 2010

In A Heartbeat: Sharing The Power of Cheerful Giving

Have you seen Michael Oher today?

According to Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy in their new book, we pass by "Michaels" everyday.  We just don't take the time to really see them.  Sean Tuohy in speaking about the Touhy's Popcorn Theory says,
"The Popcorn Theory is about noticing others.  It starts with recognizing a fellow soul by the roadside as kindred, even if he doesn't seem to belong in your gated community and, at six foot five and over three hundred pounds, is the biggest piece of popcorn you ever saw.  It's about acknowledging that person's potential and value.  It's about seeing him, instead of looking past him."
After many have read Michael Lewis's book The Blind Side and seen the movie starring Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy and Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, we think we know this family.  Through In a Heartbeat, the Tuohy family seeks to tell the story of their family in their own words.

I so enjoyed this book, because each member of the Tuohy family speaks about their experience.  Sean and Leigh Anne write the main chapters and in between each chapter is an interlude written by Tim McGraw, Sandra Bullock, Collins Tuohy (daughter), Sean Junior (son) and even Michael Oher himself.

The chapters are written in an easy going conversational style.  The reader gets a glimpse into the upbringing and circumstances that shaped Sean and Leigh Anne and what developed this deep understanding they have of the importance of cheerful giving.  They truly are a shining example of what it means to give yourself away and not just your money

As a parent, I appreciated how open Sean and Leigh Anne were in the book about how they raised Collins and SJ and the kind of people they hoped they would be.  The Touhy's son and daughter were challenged to give something away in exchange for every privilege they had.  They went to camps in the summer like every other kid in the neighborhood, but their first stop many summers was to the Camp of the Rising Son down in Choctaw Mississippi, which was a camp for underprivileged kids.  The Sean and Leigh Anne wanted their children to "get a dose of reality, so that they wouldn't be too sequestered by comfortable circumstances."  Leigh Anne shares at one point in the book that one of the questions they get asked alot is how did Collins, SJ and Michael accept one another as brothers and sister without resentment.  This is part of her answer:
"One possible answer is that we all laughed a lot.  Another is that Collins and SJ were open to Michael because they hadn't been raised in total privilege and prosperity.  When they were younger, they saw us struggle economically, so they grew up with some sense for how hard we worked and how fortunate they were.  We also tried hard not to sequester them socially - because when you're socially sequestered, you're susceptible to stereotypes and to viewing a lot of people as 'others.'  We never wanted our kids to view anyone as an 'other.'"
 I highly recommend this book!  You will be challenged and inspired by the story of real people and in Leigh Anne's words, you'll be encouraged to "Do small things with great love."

Thank you Audra Jennings with the B&B Media Group for providing me with a review copy of this exceptional book!!  In A Heartbeat can be purchased at Amazon.



Mariel said...

I so loved the movie and I bet (as usual) the book was better! thanks for sharing this. I lov eyour reviews, too...they are always so good.