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January 7, 2019

A Picture of Integrity

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He’s the retired international marketing executive that’s been featured on the Today Show, CNN, USA Today, ABC and Newsweek. Even Peopleand Inside Edition have done a story on David Deutchman.

It’s not because of his marketing prowess though. It’s because of his rocking ability. Check it out here.

For the past twelve years, Deutchman has spent two days a week at an Atlanta hospital holding NICU babies whose parents can’t be there. Many infants spend weeks or months in the NICU, and their parents spend that time shuttling between the hospital, their other kids at home, work and the rest of life. All the while, they struggle with concern for their hospitalized baby and often guilt that they can’t be there.

Enter Deutchman.

One morning, a mother was returning from a night at home two hours away. Hurrying back to see her son, Logan, born at 25 weeks, she saw Deutchman rocking her son. With tears in her eyes, she snapped a picture.

The hospital shared the picture on its Facebook page and in two months, the picture received 247,000 responses (likes, loves, etc.). In comparison, the hospital’s fall post “Know Your Flu Facts” got 250 responses.

This just in: people like cuddling grandpas more than the flu.

But what makes this story so appealing? Sure, it speaks to how easy it is in our digital age to share things, but it also says something about the human condition. Our delight in Deutchman says a lot about us. Here are five things it shows:

  1. It shows what we would like to be. We all want to be kind, intentional and giving with our lives. This kind of action waters the good seeds in our hearts versus fueling another surge of one of the 7 deadly sins. I’m betting the majority of people who saw that picture thought, I’d like to do something like that when I retire. Didn’t you?
  2. It shows we have a weak spot for the ones who need a hug. Tell me this isn’t true. Show me a vulnerable baby, and I want good for that baby. We’re wired that way. Unfortunately, many marketers have played on this too much. But it still remains in our soul unless we have completely crossed over to the dark side of life.
  3. It shows what we expect of the old. Grandmothers and granddads are supposed to be nice people, good people. We might be narcissistic, but granddads aren’t supposed to be that way. They’re supposed to be kind and offer wisdom. The challenge, of course, as this article points out, is recognizing the true value offered by the elderly in society and not simply banishing them to the category of “elderly.”
  4. It shows us that we’re drowning in despair, disappointment and dashed dreams. One story on Deutchman was titled “ICU Grandpa Is Something to Hold On to in These Cruel Times.” Deutchman is so noteworthy because there is so much discouragement in the world. When news stories are about sexual harassment and nuclear threats and congressional battles, ICU Grandpa is a cup of cold water on a hot summer day.
  5. It shows that babies keep us young. If you’re in the tunnel of life with little kids (as in 3 kids under the age of 5), you might argue that babies make you feel old. But outside of that season of life, babies keep us young. Deutchman says that there are days where it’s tough to make it to the hospital but stepping into the NICU room always gives him some energy. On some level, we all agree with Carl Sandburg, who said, “ A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.”

Here’s my favorite thing about Deutchman. If you’d gone to that hospital in 2006, you would have found him there. He was there before the iPhone and before Instagram. He wasn’t doing this to build his personal brand or platform. He was being faithful day in and day out, doing something right.

That’s a picture of deep integrity—doing the right thing over and over again even when no one notices.

Thanks, Grandpa.

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