Oprah is jokingly referred to as the “third parent” of my family. It is not meant to diminish my parents physical presence or active roles in my life. They clearly were (and still are) the most important people involved in my upbringing. I think of her as how a teacher or other important adult has helped shape a child’s life- but even more so with Oprah, because she literally has been part of my family from infancy to the age of 25. I am the first generation product of “Oprah parenting.”
Some ways Oprah has helped shaped my life:
- I learned from Oprah what homosexuality was in a positive sense
- I learned about the HIV/AIDS crisis
- I learned about the importance of fighting back in an abduction
- I learned about tolerance, race, and hate groups- how our country has made great strides, but has a long way to go.
- I’ve learned about human conditions and became empathetic towards all human beings
- I was inspired to study Anthropology. That led me, an atheist, to West Africa conducting research. I left a Christian- forever changing my life.
- Dealing with PTSD after having HELLP Syndrome in my pregnancy, Oprah had a show specifically for “Warrior Moms” (with Jenny McCarthy). The stories did not diminish what I went through, but made me realize I was not alone. And even if something worse happened (like many of the women in the stories,) I could overcome any obstacle and be there for my children.
- After seeing a show on North Carolina families adopting from Liberia (beautiful story, and did give realistic expectations), Brian and I decide (after years of research and discussion) we were ready to take the next step and start the adoption process.
- Every Christmas present idea, decorating tips, recipes, and just plain fun aspects of life the show covered.
- I think the main inspiration I received as a child growing up, was that I really can accomplish anything my heart is in. Oprah’s own story gives inspiration to her message. I grew up not to be afraid of failure when there is passion in my purpose.
I know there are people for question Oprah’s authenticity. For me, it is pretty obvious the positive role her show has placed on my own life. The millions of people who have found her words inspiring and healing is proven testimony to her success. People seem to forget that Oprah is not a deity, she is not the Messiah, she is HUMAN. Perhaps the accusations of inauthenticity come from mistakes she, like every human, has made (and will continue to make). We cannot put our faith into a human being. We most certainly can learn from other humans, if it aligns with our personal relationship with God, and is in accordance with his word. It’s hard for some people to believe that someone who has offered wisdom and comfort to much of the world is still learning. One of the reasons life is so wonderful is because we will never stop learning, mostly from our own mistakes.