Lesson from my Brother – Selflessness

Posted: August 19, 2012 by Keith Townsend in Uncategorized

This is another follow on to my transition to manhood.  This story comes from when I was about 19.  I had recently been fired from my job at Wendy’s when I found myself in an interesting situation.  This was an especially difficult time in my family.  My dad had recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness, our family hadn’t recovered financially from losing our home to fire and the home that was a safety net for my extended family was in disrepair from a fire.  We had fully slipped out of the middle class.  My older brother, who I hope to get to write a guest blog post one day was also going through his own growing pains as a man.  He had left home right after High School and renting a room in our family home.  I had been helping him out from my excess.  People would praise me for my generosity but, I really didn’t think of it as a big deal.  It was money I really would miss.

So, a few weeks after losing my job, I spent a night over my brother’s and wake up broke and hungry.  This was a situation that was completely foreign to me.  I didn’t know how I was going to eat that day.  This is when I learned the true meaning of generosity.  My brother had hustled up a few bucks the day before working on some one’s car.  He went out to the local greasy spoon and got a breakfast platter.  He brought it back and split it with me.  It was all the money that he had.  I have to be honest with you, at the time I can’t say that I would have done the same.  I would have given him some of my meal but split it?  Remember, I had helped him out here and there but it was out of my excess.  Would I have given him half of my earnings?  He doesn’t even remember this story.  But it made a huge impact on me.  I actually went off and cried because, I felt ashamed at my selfishness.

This lesson has stuck with me for the 20+ years since.  It’s difficult enough to give when you have a lot.  But to give when you have very little?  This is something that I learned from my family.  They know how to come together in tough times and survive.  I know now what I’d do because it was taught to me by my big bro.  Thanks bro!


  1. Sharron says:

    Wow! That’s real love.

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