The Ultimate Gift

"Education is a lifelong journey whose destination expands as you travel."
The Ultimate Gift

I'm not up on the latest movies, so when a screener of a film called The Ultimate Gift arrived in my post office box on Tuesday morning, I didn't give it much thought.  I hadn't heard of the movie when it was released in theaters, but was reviewing the screener for potential review at the request of a colleague.  The fact that one of my favorite young actresses, Abigail Breslin of Little Miss Sunshine fame, was involved did pique my curiosity.

Imagine my shock two hours later when I came to the stunning conclusion that this film now ranks in my top five favorite movies of all time.  The Ultimate Gift is based on an inspirational novel by author Jim Stovall and tells the story of one young man's life transformation from a spoiled rotten trust fund leech into a loving philanthropist.  The main character, Jason Stevens, must navigate a series of twelve tasks/gifts given to him posthumously by his paternal grandfather in order to earn a mystery inheritance.  The "gifts" are designed to teach him a series of life lessons and become progressively more challenging and life wrenching.  Jason comes from the most despicable breed of wealthy snobs you've ever seen and is nursing a lifelong grudge against his grandfather.  He launches into the challenge with one sole goal in mind:  getting the money.  It's his assumption that more money will equate to happiness.  Happiness appears to be one of the only commodities that's sorely missing in his life.

I won't give away the ending of this remarkable film, but I do challenge you to get to the conclusion without feeling your own heart grow three sizes and reaching for the tissue.   The Ultimate Gift is a movie to be shared and discussed with family members of all ages for the wonderful life lessons it shares.  Entertaining performances by a talented cast lend to the charm, but the true value of this film is in the "gift" it gives to the watcher.  You will be inspired to look around your own life and to pursue your own path of gifts on a journey towards making your world a better place.  For those seeking support and encouragement along your path, check out The Ultimate Gift Experience website for discussion guides and inspirational ideas for helping your own family grow closer.

Home-work for Today:

  • The Ultimate Gift will be released on DVD on August 21st.  This one's a keeper!  Make a date now to view this film with family, friends, your church group, or other special people in your life.

Reading Room Resources:
Blog posts from this week related to Learning and Professional Development


Lisa Hendey, Catholic wife and mom, is the founder and webmaster of and the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul and The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and hosts the Catholic Moments Podcast. Visit her at

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