One thing my job allows me is to get to know some pretty cool people. Early last year I was able to spend some time with Ben Stroup for a few days. Prior to that, he had always been a bit of a mystery to me. I was captivated by the projects he was involved in--but couldn't quite figure out exactly what he did. Now that I know him, I get it: He tries to add value to others every chance he gets. I was especially grateful when he brought the entire strength of his team together to help me publish Who Do You Trust? by Patrick McGoldrick. He just released a new book called Unconditional Love, which captivated me for two reasons: First, because Ben wrote it, and secondly, because it's a topic that has been captivating my reading and writing during the past six months. I asked Ben if I could ask him a few questions about the book for the readers of LeadingSmart.com:
1. What was your motivation behind writing a book about a topic like unconditional love?
It’s rare and unusual. But when you see it—or better yet experience it—you never forget it. Papa Joe’s story, as I experienced it in the movie Unconditional, made me wonder what would be possible if ordinary people decided to say “yes” to the needs around them.
2. What story sticks out to you as the most inspiring?
For me it wasn’t one story that stood out above the rest. Truthfully, what I didn’t expect was to see so much similarity in the stories of these courageous individuals, like twin sisters Helen & Ellen who are in their EIGHTIES and still run a food kitchen that feeds thousands every week. They were all living ordinary lives when they were confronted with a need. None of them felt skilled, ready or prepared to respond. All of them said yes anyway. And the result is that lives and communities have been changed as a result.
3. How do you think this book will impact readers who want to do good and give back but don't think they have the time, knowledge or resources?
If you wait until you have time, experience and money, you’ll never do anything. It’s not about what we need to acquire BEFORE we can show unconditional love to others. It is about giving what we have ... today. It could be a smile, a handshake, looking someone in the eye and showing them respect, or it could be taking on an international humanitarian effort. Everyone is surrounded by needs. All we have to say is yes. The rest is just details.
4. Is this book full of stories about church people and bake sales?
I can understand how you might think that. All of these individuals have a genuine and authentic faith. None of these people represent clergy or churches. They are everyday people who started with what they have and where they are and started helping people around them. What happened as a result—in each situation—is nothing short of a miracle.
5. Will some men think this is a girly kind of book?
Ha! Not at all. While a phrase like “unconditional love” might seem unusual for a guy to talk about, the stories speak for themselves. In fact, I was surprised at how many men made it into the book. One of the men is a former military officer, and another is a former college football star. One would be hard pressed to call them “girly.” I think both men and women will connect with these stories.