My daughter’s new favorite movie is The Blind Side. She loves watching Sandra Bullock push people around, and she has changed her hair to look like Lily Collins’s.
We’ve watched it for the past week.
I was getting pretty sick of it: a privileged family with a lovely house and adorable kids takes in a misunderstood gentle giant and grooms him – despite his protests – to be a college-educated football star.
“Sometimes I wish we had a butt-ton of money so we could help everyone who needed it,” I muttered.
Her eyes never left the screen. This is what she said:
“You don’t need money to help people.”
Of course, like Leigh Ann Tuohy, she’s right.
Helping in childhood is “helping” – befriending the lonely, making a card for the sick, setting the table and getting ready for school on time. It costs Nothing.
In grown-up land, help is measured largely in money – tips, gifts, donations, lavish gestures and legacy endowments. It’s about how much you can give in relation to your neighbors. “We are so blessed,” is code for, “We’ve got dough.”
It would’ve been easy – and acceptable – for the Tuohy family to “throw money” at inner city poverty. It’s cleaner and would have avoided some major complications. Like the old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” They could’ve simply signed a check to a charity, the school, or Michael Oher himself, and washed their hands of whatever happened next.
This is an extremely narrow way to measure how much change you can effect in the world. No wonder I was so depressed!
Helping is an act, not an amount. It’s grace instead of impatience, noticing what needs done which you could easily – and cheerfully – do, reserving judgment and resolving conflict. Grownups have greater opportunities to help than children do, not fewer.
Thankfully, she “gets” that.
I’m going to sit down and watch The Blind Side again, and see what else I might have missed. Maybe I’ll also frost my hair.
Here’s the Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis on amazon.com for you readers.