Monday, November 27, 2006

Another Reason I love Oprah

OK Oprah can get a little full of herself. Fine by me. She is doing such good in the world. All things considered, I think she has held it together pretty well. In addition to the vast amount she gives away every year to support charities and causes, she gave her audience a chance to do good deeds. A few weeks ago she gave each of her 314 audience members a $1,000 check card and a video camera. They were -- within a week -- to give that $1,000 to one or more complete strangers and to film what happened. What hap pend was, predictably, nothing short of miraculous. Go to Oprah's Internet Site to read about it.

My favorite story was not one of the "big stories" --where a person had managed to parlay that generosity into a huge amount -- but a smaller tale, a story of a 68 year old man, Alferd, who could not read. He had decided, at age 68, that he would learn, and was attending a local first grade class to learn. Part of the way one person spent their money was to buy him books. Alferd's Story tells more details. But the truth is that here in America we have many Alferd's, young and old, who cannot read.

Imagine that for a moment, living in America and being unable to read. What must his life had been like before now? How impossible was it for him to navigate this land, on any level? What did he miss? And more importantly, what do we miss as a nation with thousands of Alferds do not have this most basic of skills.

But there were many stories. Oprah knows how good it feels to give -- she kept saying to people who had given "didn't it feel great???". That is almost the world's best kept secret. We feel better when we give -- our hands were not meant to be clenched.

We have more than we imagine -- loaves and fishes do multiply -- and mercy pours down like rain. When we lovingly open our purse, our heart follows.

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Blogger samtzmom said...

Wasn't that show just wonderful! I too was most moved by Alferd's story, and when he stood there with tears streaming down his face with joy that his mom's wish that he got to go to school was fulfilled, well... I was blubbering. Yes indeed, pay it forward... nothing like it in the world.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

What a great post! Thanks for the good stories. I wish I could watch Oprah more often; I'm always at work when she's on, except on Fridays. We don't subscribe to cable, so recording it isn't an option.

I used to teach the secondary literacy class in the Education department at the California college where I was a professor. Every year I showed the Johnny Cash movie, "The Pride of Jesse Hallam," where he plays an older guy who can't read. If you can get your hands on it, do watch it. There is such a need for literacy mentors to work with adults. Our community has a program like that, and trains the mentors....

11:06 AM  
Blogger Maggie Rose said...

hey, Mata. I tried your link to the Oprah show but it didn't work. a comma after the www it appears.


4:41 PM  
Blogger Mata H said...

Thanks, Maggie -- all repaired now :-)

4:46 PM  

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