Raise your hand if you haven’t seen The Blind Side??? Yeah, that’s what I thought! Who hasn’t seen it?!?! One of our favorite parts of each Aflac National Convention is listening to the guest speakers at The Prayer Breakfast. How amazing is our company that they have an entire morning devoted to the topic of GOD? How many companies honestly do that now-a-days? Yeah, none. We’ve heard Kirk Cameron, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Bowden and now Mr. and Mrs. Tuohy. The prayer breakfast alone may be worth us going to Vegas next year! It’s always an awesome experience and I’d hate to miss it!
Usually the Prayer Breakfast is during breakfast but this year they had breakfast first then a different meeting area for the guest speakers. I think this was a good idea because a LOT of the time people will show up to the breakfast then bail when they are done eating…super rude for the speakers to see that ya know?
For those of you who may not know the story of The Tuohy family, I’ll give you a brief rundown. Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy’s life, as chronicled in Michael Lewis’ The Blind Side, went on to become a record-breaking Hollywood blockbuster that earned more than $260 million at the box office and became the number-one opening weekend or a sports film in history. The Blind Side tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless teenager turned first round drat pick NFL football player, with the support and love of an unlikely adoptive family: Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. “Who knows where I’d be?” says Michael (who is now a Baltimore Raven offensive lineman), who with the love and support of the Tuohys, improved as a student and became the most sought after player in college and professional football.
Sandra Bullock won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Leigh Anne in the film and seeing Leigh Anne in person, you KNOW why Sandra one. She was SPOT ON!!!
the movie Leigh Anne and Sean
The real Leigh Anne and Sean!
Leigh Anne dominated majority of the time we had with them. She was hilarious! You could tell they didn’t have anything prepared in advance and just sat up there talking with all of us like we were old friends. It was supposed to last an hour but went for almost two and no one in the room wanted to see it come to an end. She talked a lot about the movie vs real life and said that the movie was 99% accurate. The original movie script was intended for Julia Roberts and ended up getting thrown out by Fox because it wasn’t “Hollywood” enough. They refused to change their story to fit Hollywood glamor and assumed the movie would never happen. They never really planned for any of this. They were approached by an author, who is a friend of theirs, about him writing a book on their story and then the book took off and got turned into the movie. They actually haven’t made a penny off of the movie!!!
She talked about how people don’t believe that she is as loud and in-your-face as Sandra portrayed her in the film, but that in real life she’s even more than Sandra acted like! She recently told the quarterback of the Ravens that he needed to throw the ball faster! When he told Michael she said that and Michael got on to her for embarrassing him by critiquing the teams quarterback…the next time she saw the quarterback instead of apologizing she called him a tattle-tail haha.
The main message they wanted us to take from our time together was giving. They talked about how they have told all their children to always keep ones in their glove box and give them to anyone who ever asks for money. We typically don’t agree with that…we will give food or other items but not cash as who knows how that cash will be spent right? I LOVED the point she made when she said it doesn’t matter what they do with the money. When you are fortunate in this life it’s your duty to pay that forward to others and we have to do the right thing by giving. She told a funny story about Michael and how he saw a man begging for money on the street across the way where he couldn’t reach him by unrolling his window. He grabbed some of his cash from the glove box and got out of the car to go give it to the guy. The guy saw this HUGE black man running towards him and took off running because he was scared!!!
The family lives by the motto “turn around.” When they saw Michael walking down the street they could have just kept going. Or they could have said a few prayers for him or something else that made them feel like they were helping his situation. But instead they turned their car around and stopped to help him. That one decision changed all of their lives FOREVER. It really, really made me think a lot about the impact we can have on others and how important it is to pay attention to those around us and to always turn around when situations present themselves. I don’t know how anyone could read that book, watch that movie, or meet them in person and not have their heart pricked in some way.
Personally, I really, really want to adopt. One of my personal goals is to finish with all of our children then adopt from the Ukraine. Our church does a lot of mission trips to Ukraine and I have learned some about the culture over there. The only real work there is to work in the coal mines which are basically a death wish and it devastates their population and spirits. There are SO many children there that do not have parents, do not have food, do not have a chance. I would LOVE nothing more than to bring one (well…really I want to adopt two but let’s get Zach on board for one first right?) of those children home here with us. We have been so blessed and I want to pass those blessings onto a child who may have never had anything close to the opportunities we’d be able to give them. I really connected to the Tuohy’s and felt so inspired.
I also felt proud when hearing their story as their story is similar in many ways to what Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte are currently doing. They have taken in Charlotte’s nephew to live with them at the age of 16 and he’ll continue to live there with them throughout high school. They had an empty nest and were finally enjoying free time together and are now raising a teenager again! It is SUCH a great example to us all that they have welcomed him into their family the way they have. They are making a HUGE difference in his life and will help to forever shape his future much in the same ways that Leigh Anne and Sean did for Michael! Trey is a skinny white kid so I don’t see the NFL in his future (haha) but I know his life has been blessed by this opportunity and all of our lives have been blessed as well by having him 🙂
I LOVED our time with Mr. and Mrs. Tuohy. They were great speakers with a great message and you can tell they have a wonderful relationship. They had a funny banter back and forth that reminded Zach and I of us. They cut on each other a lot (she said “part of the 1% that wasn’t accurate is that they had a hottie like Tim McGraw play Sean!”) and it was really funny! I am thankful we were able to hear them speak and hope that the message they presented to us will stay with me for a long time to come!!!
The Tuohy Family