Thankful to be a blessing

November 23, 2015 | (55) Comments

One thing that I have been acutely aware of since I was a small child is that those who are blessed should do all they can to be a blessing to others. This is something that I always tried to teach my own children, and it’s something I have kept in mind my entire life.

My wife, Shannon, shares this belief, and has one of the most generous spirits of anyone I know. A while back, Shannon had the idea of giving homeless people backpacks filled with items for their basic needs. I thought it was a great idea, so it’s something we do from time to time to help those in need.

I understand that homelessness is incredibly devastating. So I know that our distributing backpacks to homeless people in our community does not solve their greater problem of needing a place they can call home, but it’s just one way that Shannon and I are able to directly give to people in our community.

One day, as Shannon and I were about to deliver backpacks, she said, “Mark, we should make sure to ask people their names.” It was such a simple statement, but so thought provoking. The people we encounter on any given outing are indeed someone’s brother or sister, friend … some mother’s child. But we didn’t ask questions when we were handing out the backpacks. Our hearts and intentions were good and we wanted to help, but we didn’t want to intrude on their personal space or pride.

It had never occurred to me how meaningful it might be to simply ask their names. That day for the first time, however, we did, and the first couple we met made the most lasting impression on us. We introduced ourselves and then asked their names, and just recalling the look on their faces gives me chill bumps. First, there was complete and obvious shock and then appreciation that we’d simply acknowledged them as we would any new person we encounter. We learned their names were Sarah and John, but beyond that, we realized how such a small gesture was really the simplest, most respectful thing we could have done.

I know many of you volunteer year-round and especially through the holidays, helping others. So I know you’re already showing thanks for your blessings in ways that impact so many. But sometimes I think it’s important to remember that how we give, care and serve is often much greater that what we give. That’s true whether we’re serving in the community or caring for our families at Texas Children’s.

I hope that you will remember that – and think of Sarah and John – every time you enter a patient room or an elevator or walk through the hospital, crossing the paths of our patients and their families. Every one deserves respectful acknowledgement. It only takes a moment and a simple question or two. Just ask – and then really listen. You have no idea how thankful someone may be for your kindness.

With much gratitude, I wish you all a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

55 Responses to “Thankful to be a blessing”

  1. Michelle M. Hernandez

    Thank you, Mr. Wallace, for sharing your heart with us at this special time of year. You have given all of us at Texas Children’s Hospital a wonderful example to follow. The stories you share about the blessings that come when we place people first inspire us and remind us of what is most important. May you, Shannon, and the entire Texas Children’s family have a heartwarming Thanksgiving filled with the blessings of people who matter.

  2. Vickki Brown

    I have always thought of you as an amazing person, and a very down to earth indivdual. It dont surpise me when I hear of you doing anything that has to do with people and making them feel special. I would like to send a Happy Holiday to you and your family.

  3. Sabrina Cowans

    Mr. Wallace, so WONDERFUL! I’ve never asked someone I’ve given to their name. But your story has inspired me to do so. Sometimes I’ve seen people throw money or give with such a hateful spirit that I’ve often thought, it would have been better if they hadn’t given at all. But asking them their name; well that is the ultimate respect because because it recognizes them as a human being, as our brother or sister in Christ. Thank you for that inspiration. We have donated items to distribute soon through a ministry. We will incorporate asking the recepients their names.

  4. A salute to you Sir Mark…You’ve lived a life just like how our creator would want us all to live…As a saying goes,”You’ve never really lived until you have helped someone who cannot pay you in return”…. You and Shannon has already gained a space in heaven.

  5. Margaret Whiting

    I am so grateful to have worked with people like you, sir. Down thru the years you been very an inspiration and I’ve always reminded my co-workers of your kind spirit. I’m not surprised when I hear these stories from you. Your kids displayed the kind of parent you were when they were growing up. I’m proud to say that you’ve been a beaconing force and am proud to say that you’re our CEO. Best Wishes to you and yours.

  6. Vanessa Voldbakken

    Way to go Mr. Wallace and wife!! In my personal life I work with homeless adult alcoholics and drug addicts. It’s the best feeling to help those who can’t help themselves. I have also been bless to see some of them turn their lives around and become productive citizens. God bless you and your wife for your compassionate heart and giving spirit. Keep up the good work
    1 You are an inspiration!!!!

  7. Sir I can only say you are an inspiration and a blessing. thank you for keeping Texas Childrens on the side of humanity and letting us be a part of something that is great led by a leader that touchs people in a very special way.

  8. Claudia Conkin

    Amazing story….I read of another story of a journalist who wanted to help a homeless man by buying him lunch. The homeless man was very excited until the journalist was too busy to join him. The meal was declined as all the man wanted was companionship. Your story, this story all make you stop and think that what we all crave as people is to be treated with compassion and to feel accepted. Thank you for your inspiring thoughts!

  9. Giving to those who are less fortunate and acknowledging them as a person, not a “favor” is something I personally strive for on a continued basis. It’s pretty awe-inspiring to know there are others in our community that feel the same way .

  10. Jeanette McMullen

    One more reason I choose to work here and bring my children here for care. Generosity, kindness, and compassion within an organization starts from the top on down. Your leadership epitomizes TCH’s philosphy. Thank you for your service to the community.

  11. Renita Mackey

    That is so awesome! I love your spirit Mr. Wallace. I have been here almost 10yrs and I’ve never seen you without a smile on your face. You have been a blessing to me throughout the years and knowing I am sharing a piece of your happiness brings joy to my heart. Keep doing a great job you and Shannon.

  12. Nan Ybarra

    Recognizing the humanity in those who are homeless is something many of us fail to act on. One’s name is a powerful affirmation of the person and not the desparate circumstance that too many find themselves in. Your and your wife’s acknowledgement of this humanity is a powerful gift for which many are grateful I’m sure.

  13. Carol Boswell

    What a great reminder to give of what we have. I know that I am blessed beyond expectation and hope to be a blessing to others in ways that impact them.
    I love Shannon’s idea to ask their name. Our names are so personal to us, and to think you have lost so much to be in a situation of homelessness, your name, your word and hopefully your faith are what remain in tact. Your wife is hands down one of the most generous people I have encountered.
    A few weeks ago I was out running errands on a Saturday and a woman was standing on the corner with a sign that read, ” I don’t want or need anything from you, I want to give to you. I am offering:
    A kind word of encouragement
    A few dollars to help you out
    A prayer
    A bite to eat or something to drink”

    That really impacted me to do something — physically get up and do something to give back. Thanks for the continued encouragement.
    Best to you and Shannon.

  14. Bonnie Magliaro

    This is truly an example of giving thanks for the blessings we receive by blessing others. I often get discouraged when I see collegaues walking through our facility with their eyes down or on their cell phones as they pass by visitors, patients, and staff (sometimes their own). They appear oblivious to the idea that a simple nod of acknowledement can make someone’s day. This story serves as a marvelous example of just how easy it is to get our focus back to the basics of simple human kindness and interact with each other with respect and compassion as we travel through life 24/7; 365. I thank you and Shannon for this reminder We all have days when it is needed.

  15. Laura Gardner

    What a wonderful and inspirational story! Thank you for sharing it. Your simple action of asking John and Sara their names validated them as persons. Maybe that is something that they haven’t felt in a long time.
    It reminds me of something that Mother Teresa of Calcutta said “One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody”
    There are two things we can always give another person, respect and a smile. We need to remember that with not only our patients and their families but with each other. It will continue to make Texas Children’s one of the best places to work!

  16. Christina Atiba

    Thanks for such an inspirational story.Yes, you are RIGHT.The Lord said ” I will bless you and make your name great and you will be a blessing to others”.
    Take a look at the history of those that are blessed, they are always a GIVER. We can give our money and time to those in need.We shall all strive to continue to give the special care our patients need and deserve at TCH. I pray we will all have a reason to give thanks at this holiday season.
    Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  17. Rhonda Bolin Amrine

    Awesome…I’m always very thankful that I have a CEO who leads by example. You have been a blessing in my life many times without even realizing it. Thank you for this thought provoking real life story! Wishing you and your family a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving!

  18. As parents, we often hear our children say they want to be like this singer, this actor, this athlete. I can say I would love to hear my young teenage son say he’d like to be like you, Mr. Wallace. You set and live the example that inspires all of us to want to be and do better. I know in my volunteer work, I will make the time to ask names and make that connection better in the future. Yours and Shannon’s hearts are huge and pure. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving.

  19. Ridawna Sneed

    Wow, I am so totally blown away at how you and your wife have such a genuine love for, and a desire to add value to others. Thanks so much for this story. I will follow your lead as well.

  20. Anne Myatt

    What a beautiful story but I have to say I am not surprised by this mission you and your wife have. I remember how you connected to, and remembered all of us you encountered when you were new to TCH. You asked for names and our work area. It was nice to see you remembered us when we met you in the hall. You always had a friendly comment.
    You have a kind and giving spirit and I am thankful for you, Mark Wallace.

  21. Aretha Stewart

    You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to say, thank you. I have been employed at TCH since April 2015, but before that, both my sons were recipients of care here, and so was I as a lactating mother. I know this has nothing to do with the story everyone is commenting on, other than to say, All I’d ever hear about this place was,” the care is great”. For my family and I, that was the case. It is also an amazing place to work. I believe all this is directly related to leadership. I know there are others on the team creating this truly patient/family centered environment. But, after working here, I wanted to say, Thank You, for being genuinely, kind,and caring. The same things I believe you and your team want in the TCH partners (employees) that show up to work here everyday. Thank for sharing your time/talent with us here at TCH, and with two people I’m sure won’t forget you either, John and Sarah.
    Happy Holidays to you and your family, you’re off to a great start!!!

  22. LaWanna Meade

    Very inspiring because, while we can’t help everybody, we can help brighten the corner that we’re standing in. It might not seem like much to us, but little becomes much when placed in the Master’s hands!! That’s to say that whatever little we can do to help others (i.e., random acts of kindness such as picking up the tab for a single mom at the grocery store, or helping a needy family with coats for their children, or whatever), God will give increase to really bless the recipients and our efforts will stretch in a supernatural way to meet the needs and also to give people hope. $20 to one person might seem insignificant but to a single mom at the grocery store trying to pick and choose for her children, $20 means a lot. So, I’m inspired and I challenge TCH’s family to show random acts of kindness during this holiday season, in the same spirit that we operate in daily.

    Thanks, Mr. Wallace, for the inspiration and happy holidays to everyone!!!

  23. sheila lopez

    As always you make me see the world in a different way. You are a great leader and you lead by example, through kindness, selflessness and generosity. I am so proud that you are the face of this organization and that you extend yourself so generously not only within our company but to the public which you serve.-Thank you for inspiring me to DO MORE&BE MORE!!

  24. Nicole Goodly

    Thank you for this thought provoking message. My family hosts a banquet for the homeless every year for Christmas and this is something that I will share with all involved. The greeters have always introduced themselves, but have never asked our guests what their names are. This is something so simple, but very important because we want to treat them with dignity and respect and let them know how loved they are. What a great inspiration. Thank You

  25. Mercy Buck

    Thank you sir for sharing this story with us. Thank you for touching lives in ways that demonstrate caring and giving with a “servants heart” and may God continue to richly Bless you and your family in this advent season and season of giving.

  26. Mieyoshi Williams

    Thank you Mr. Wallace for sharing your story. I started a backpack tradition with my family this thanksgiving after reading your story. I must say this is a wonderful contribution to the community and to those in need. My family was able to give away two backpacks filled with food and toiletries with a card inside from my children. Our goal for Christmas is to make ten backpacks and keep the tradition going year after year. It felt good to put a smile on someones face!!!

  27. David Walding

    Thank you Mark for this powerful story of a life lived in gratitude to a Mighty God. This is truly a blessing to others for this season and a challenge to care first ! Bless you sir.

  28. Delores Ramsey

    Mr. Mark it is such a blessing to work under you, and to be led by a man that lives out his faith daily, especially on his job. My prayer is that our Father continues to live in and through your life, as well as your in family’s.

    Delores, your employee

  29. Khadijah Thomas

    Warm greetings to all,

    I am new to the Texas Children’s family. I would like to say that after reading the above comments and story, this is all a true testament to just how wonderful of a network family Children’s has continuously developed into. I am a strong believer of great leadership, because you can always see the effects of it throughout the body of people being lead. I now know and understand why the people at Texas Children’s are all so kind, devoted, and sincere in their daily duties, as we sever such wonderful human beings. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Wallace for these significant moments that continue to touch and inspire us all.

    Khadijah Thomas

  30. Yolanda Walls

    Spot on Mr. Wallace! We put so much effort into repairing and reacting when it is so much easier and gratifying to exercise these simple gestures proactively. Thank you for your consistent and excellent example of true leadership.

  31. DK Lovick

    I love this so much! A long time ago my daddy taught me to address people by their names and always introduce myself. When I was a young girl it seemed very awkward to say “Thank you, Sam” to the grocery guy; but over time I realized how much it means to people and how it changes there response to me. I can see how such a small act of kindness can leave such a big impact on people. I think the biggest impact though has actually been on me! Thank you for all you do, Mr. Wallace, you’re character and integrity are just a few of the reasons why I am so proud to work here at TCH with you!!
    Full of thanksgiving, DK

  32. Michael Jackson

    I have been very fortunate to work with a few world renown Healthcare Organizations; TCH is so Blessed to have a leader that exemplifies Grace and Giving. This has been by far the best organizational choice I have made and am very Thankful to be here.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  33. Wanda Loveless

    Mr. Wallace: I am so thankful and bless to be a part of this great organization for over 19 years. You are simply the best and thanks for sharing the heartfelt story. Happy holidays to you and family. Blessing, Wanda

  34. Pamala S. Pennington

    This is such a heartwarming story. I’m sure that you and your wife made a huge impact on Sarah and John. I will always remember my mother saying that when someone actually called her by name when communicating with her, it made her feel very special. Blessings to you and your family during this holiday season. 🙂

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