What is your why? What is your reason? What drives you?
Is it for the self? Or is it pure, for the good of others?
That question came to the spotlight in Aaron Rodgers’ discussion with Bucks guard Pat Connaughton and 94.5 ESPN’s Gabe Neitzel, Steve “The Homer” True and Packers insider Jason Wilde during “Capture Sports Marketing’s Athletes Doing Good Radiothon with Pat Connaughton” Thursday on ESPN Wisconsin.
“The most important thing is where your heart is at,” the deeply philosophical Rodgers said.
“Do things not for yourself. That’s why I enjoy anonymous giving, and things without camera crews.”
Perhaps Rodgers focuses on an extrapolation of the philosophy of poet John Bunyan – no relation, despite the rhyme and alliteration – to new Packers guard Jon Runyan.
Bunyan said “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
Perhaps for Rodgers, it’s “You have not lived today until you give and will not be repaid, in any way, shape or form.”
“The most meaningful ones are gifts where you maybe attach a note where you say ‘Let’s keep this between us.’ ” said Rodgers.
“Then you’re giving out of the pure love approach of helping someone, not wanting personal gratification.”
Rodgers probably has done more through that methodology than what most people might be able to imagine. But sometimes, he does put a face on a cause, not to say “Hey, look at what I’m doing,” but “Hey, look at what you can do.”
“It’s case-by-case. It’s doing what’s in the best interest of the people affected,” he said Thursday. He cites the examples of wildfires that ravaged his homeland, and how he put his money – millions of dollars – and his mouth as an advocate where his heart is.
“I thought it was really important to put a face and a name (on it). It allowed exposure to go a little farther. We raised a ton of money. We’re still raising money.”
The list of causes for which he has put his face is long and varied: Childhood cancer. Central city Milwaukee non-profits. human rights efforts in African countries. Make-a-Wish Foundation. various anti-hunger efforts, Legal Action of Wisconsin…that’s the tip of the frozen tundra-sized iceberg.
And he seems to want the majority of the ice to remain underwater, out of people’s view. So only he knows. And the gratification becomes the giving itself.
“If you’re doing things for personal gratification, you’re doing things for the wrong reason,” he said.
“There is a time and a place. It comes down to ‘What’s your motivation?’ If you’re doing it to gain attention…check yourself.”