Did anyone else but me find the latest venture by Oprah Winfrey to be void of any real substance and nothing more than a reality/game show cleverly hidden behind the guise of "giving big"?
Think about the entire premise behind this show. Contestants, that's right, contestants, are given cold hard cash and a picture of someone that needs help. They are then to figure out what that person needs help with, and with the help of a teammate, decide how best to "help" this person. All with the hopes of winning a spot in the next round, ultimately being named the "Biggest Giver."
How is this even suppose to equal to REAL giving? Yes, some of the people that were helped to night needed it but so do millions of others. People needed homes, they got rentals. A rental is not a permanent home!
One guy was a surgeon for God's sake, that will make millions in LA were he is located but he "needed help" to pay off student loans so he could donate his time to underprivileged kids that need plastic surgery. Give me a break! He will make enough money with his knowledge to more than pay those loans off and what I fail to understand it why the loans have to be paid off before he could donate his TIME??? I have bills to pay too and my kids will likely pay their own way to college but I donate my time without thinking, "oh, I can't do this because I have bills to pay." I do it because it is the right thing to do. See a need, fill a need.
My major issue with this entire show idea is how selfish it is, and believe it or not, it is just that. Oprah has more than enough resources at her disposal to help all the people in the show that were "helped" without turning it into a game.
True giving is not a game. Never has been, never will be. To truly give to another soul is to do it without thing,"what's in it for me?" and none of these people that were duped into participating in this show are doing that. They are competing. They are thinking "what can I do to be the best and win this round/game?" When you are in a mindset like that, you are only serving yourself, not others. You cannot tell me that they did not know they might win some sort of prize. Whether they knew what it was or not is beside the point. They knew there was somthing to be gained by participating.
Never give to make yourself feel better, give because it is the right thing to do. If you do it for glory or to be on TV in this case, then you are doing it for selfish reasons.
If Oprah really wanted to give out this money then she should have found a much less self- serving way to do so. Fine, give money to "ordinary" people and then follow them on their journey to see what good they do with it. Don't make it a contest. That is just plain arrogant to think that you are that high up that no one would see this for what it is.
The idea is a great one, I will give Ms. Winfrey that much and up until this point I have been a fan of hers. The concept of giving "ordinary" people a chance to see and need and fill it is commendable but the idea has gotten muddled into this sick game show that pits people against each other in order to win some sort of prize.
Give me $2,5,00.00, Ms. Winfrey and I can assure that I could find much better ways to "give big" than some that were profiled. I could give the money our local fire department that serves a 900 square mile radius with outdated gear and trucks, and only 20 men. I could donate the money to a community funded center here in the middle of nowhere that offers any child a safe place to go after school until 6 pm everyday free of charge. Sadly, the center had to cut out the Jr. High and High School programs due to lack of funds. I could help update the playground equipment at not only our only elementary school but our city park as well.
"Ordinary people", yeah right. Real ordinary people are just like me. We don't live in $200,000 houses and drive brand new cars. We don't have Jamie Foxx's wife or the President of Firestone on speed dail. We struggle everyday with little things like doing laundry for 7 people and scheduling bathroom time for 1 bathroom so that everyone gets a chance at it. But we also struggle with the big things too.
Like what on Earth we would have done had my mammogram showed something because I have no health care. How will we pay yet another ER bill if our son breaks his arm for the 4th time? How will I get tires and the front end aligned on my husband's pickup and replace our nearly 30 year old heating and air system that is failing all at the same time?
We have all those worries and so much more but guess what? We get up everyday and we kiss each other and hug our children and count our blessings. Then we go out and we do our best to help anyone that needs it.
My husband gives of his time and God forbid, one day he may have to give his life in the line of duty as a volunteer fireman. He doesn't do so that people will say " Wow! Will you look at him! He is just so awesome!". No, he does it because he is needed. I have 2 Girl Scout Troops, am a member of our Ladies Auxiliary for the fire department and a whole host of other organizations and there are lots of other things that I do because it is the right thing and I am needed. We do gladly and there is nothing for us to gain by doing what we do. Nothing but making our world a better place for the next generation to come. Nothing more.
We don't have millions to throw around but we have hearts that vastly outweigh those millions. We do and so do countless people around this country. They are the real "Big Givers".
Remember the story of the widow's giving from the Bible. It is found in the book of Mark, chapter 12, verses 41-44. This is from the Living Bible Version...
"The He went over to the collection boxes in the Temple and sat and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Some who were rich put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came in and dropped in two pennies. He called his disciples to him and remarked. " That poor widow has given more than all those rich men put together! For they all gave a little of their extra fat while she gave up her last penny."
Perhaps Ms. Winfrey will stop and think of this next time she decides to "give". Maybe we all will.