Leigh Anne Tuohy: More Michael Ohers out there
    December 2 2009 by Lilly Fowler, Religion News Service

    LOS ANGELES — In the new movie “The Blind Side,” Sandra Bullock plays real-life Memphis mother Leigh Anne Tuohy, a woman whose family is turned upside down when she spots Michael Oher — a young boy who has left the projects and has nowhere to turn.

    The Tuohys decide to provide a home for Michael and as a result, he reaches heights — both as a student and as a football player — that few could have imagined. In the process, he not only transforms himself, but those around him.

    Oher, 23, now plays for the Baltimore Ravens. Tuohy spoke about the movie that depicts her family’s life and in particular, the role faith played. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

    RNS photo courtesy Grace Hill Media

    Leigh Anne Tuohy and her adopted son, Michael Oher, are the real-life family behind Sandra Bullock’s new film, “The Blind Side.”

    Q: Religion is definitely hinted at in “The Blind Side.” Can you tell me more about your family’s religious background?

    My husband and I met at Ole Miss. Sean was Catholic, and I went to a nondenominational evangelical church. We did all different churches. And after we moved to Memphis, we started our own church called “Grace Evangelical.” We started with less than 50 people. It really has grown, and we have a great core of people.

    Michael, I don’t think, had ever attended church, probably very little. The children are all born-again Christians, and we’re just a very blessed family.

    Q: How did faith influence your decision to take in Michael?

    You know, there never was a decision to take in Michael. Michael was there, he had a need, and we were able to fill it. Do I think that our faith played a part in that?

    Absolutely. We looked over and we said, “Wow, that young man needs some clothes.”

    Q: Your children attended Briarcrest Christian School. Did you find that people at the school were more open to what you were doing because of its religious nature?

    By the time we encountered Michael, he was already attending Briarcrest. We just came along after the fact. There were some other people at Briarcrest who saw the need. There were already teachers stepping up, who saw that Michael was an extremely intelligent young man. Like Michael always says, “I could never repay them for what they did.” I think they would do it for the next kid, which is a great thing because there are certainly more Michael Ohers out there.

    Q: Was there anything you felt the movie got particularly right or wrong?

    By the time they decided to take on this project, they were the ones who wanted to get it right. Sandra Bullock put herself into this. It does portray us more accurately than most Hollywood projects would. These people cared about getting it right, and I think it shows. Maybe I wouldn’t use those drapes, and maybe I don’t wear my skirts that tight, but what does it matter?

    Q: What do you want people to take away from the movie?

    The most impactful message that people could take from the movie is that society had deemed Michael worthless. There were very few people who cared where Michael Oher was any minute of the day. He is now a contributing member of the society. He is intelligent. He made the dean’s list in college. If it can happen to Michael Oher, it could happen to anyone.  

    We need to figure out what we can do. Our system is flawed when it comes to kids. And I just really hope people will walk out of this movie better than they walked in. Do something little. But whatever it is, do it well.
    12/2/2009 6:54:00 AM by Lilly Fowler, Religion News Service | with 1 comments

Rick Garner
Thank you for this post. For more on how practicing what we preach can change a life, check out this post: http://richardtgarner.blogspot.com/2009/12/renewing-stars-faith.html
12/16/2009 2:13:32 AM

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