Dr. Mike Szynski: “To whom much is given, much is expected”
Author: Becca Edwards | Photographer: M.Kat Photography
What would you do if you had some extra cash in your pocket? Would you put it in the bank? Would you spend it? Or would you look for a way to help other people? I would put it in the bank. But not Dr. Michael Szynski of Hilton Head Hearing Services. He decided to give and, as a result, has given us much to think about.
“I’m not sure what the big deal is,” Szynski said in his signature humble way. “I went to buy some outdoor furniture. I went to one store and then another and couldn’t find what I was looking for but ended up noticing Noah’s Arks outside PetSmart. They had these beautiful dogs, especially a pit bull boxer mix named Caesar. I have a pug named Caesar. I had money in my pocket, and I wanted to give.”
According to Noah’s Arks, that donation was, in fact, a big deal. Szynski’s sizable act of kindness will save lives by providing medical care for dogs in need—and for him, the choice to do so was worth every hard-earned penny.
Recalling that day, Szynski believes meeting the volunteers and animals at Noah’s Arks was not merely serendipitous. When asked him why he stopped to help when so many other people would have just walked on by, he said, “I was put there for a reason. It was a random chain of events, but I believe it was meant to happen. Yes, it’s easy to turn your back, but one dog was missing a leg and had been abused. I wanted these dogs to get healthy. Not only does it help them, but it helps people, because one of those dogs could have a positive impact on someone’s life. It was a no-brainer.” Paraphrasing Luke 12:48, Szynski added, “To whom much is given much is expected.”
If you have ever been Szynski’s patient or had the pleasure of meeting him, you know he is one of the kindest, most philanthropic people on Hilton Head Island, and the scripture he referenced speaks volumes about his philosophy of life and what it truly means to give.
“Someone can talk about the bible and Christianity, but the bottom line is you can’t beat people over the head with it. Two important commandments are ‘Love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ I would rather live these words and what I believe than force my faith on someone. Actions really do speak louder than words.”
For this reason, Szynski is very active in our community with initiatives like One Island One Community, a free event, open to the public every July 4, and globally with his missionary work. “When I go to China, I am reminded of the power of actions. I do not speak any Chinese, but I try to communicate via my actions that I am there to serve and help; the people I’m working with appear to understand that.” Smiling, Szynski then joked, “Plus, sometimes my mouth can get me in trouble.”
The true secret to giving, according to Szynski, is to give without the expectation of receiving something in return. “My mom and dad were very giving,” Szynski said, remembering a time when he was young. “There was this one time my mom asked me, ‘Who are you doing this for? If it is an act of love you cannot expect anything back.’” Her words and his parents’ giving spirit have stayed with Szynski, and his life experiences have furthered his commitment to better other people’s lives. “When my wife died, it changed my perspective on time and money. When I looked down at my wedding ring, it was the eye opener I needed to do more with what I have been blessed with. It escalated my giving.”
Part of giving without an underlying purpose is also not expecting an immediate cause and effect. “Sometimes we get a glimpse of what our giving has done for others, but many times we don’t,” Szynski said, explaining the ripple effect. “Sometimes you throw a stone in the pond, but you cannot see how far those ripples reach or who or what they reach.”
Szynski’s passion for helping people extends into his profession. “One of the greatest gifts you can give is hearing,” he said. “Communication is key to our existence. Someone who cannot hear may become withdrawn or experience depression. I want to bring people back to the hearing world. I want them to hear the voices of the people who love them. I want them to hear the words, ‘I love you,’ and I want them to experience sounds like their favorite music which actually helps them feel love and joy.”
Szynski said he feels fortunate to work in his field and help people hear. “Everyone has a gift they can give, and this is mine.” His words echoed inside my mind even after the interview. We live in a world with a profound sense of entitlement. Many of us, and I am not excluding myself, fear that if we do not hold onto things like money, we might not have it for ourselves down the road. And yet, to talk to Szynski, you realize that giving is much more lucrative than hoarding. After our conversation, I found myself wondering who might adopt the animals Szynski helped rehabilitate. How will their lives improve? Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s someone you know. And maybe we could all benefit from spreading the same type of kindness.
Hilton Head Hearing Services, Inc. is located at 23 Main Street, Suite 101A on Hilton Head Island and 55B Sheridan Park Circle in Bluffton. To learn more, visit hiltonheadhearing.com or call (843) 271-6970.