If you are of a certain generation, born in the late 70’s/early 80’s, then chances are you spent about two decades of your formative years being downloaded wisdom by the queen mother. That’s Oprah. I have found that as my favorite first born reaches the age of middle school entry, I am embarking into a whole new land of teachable moments. As she asks about a variety of safety and social concerns, my mind drifts back to my memories of learning from Oprah each weekday at the 4pm-5pm time slot.
Protect Other Children
It is probably no accident that an Oprah-raised baby like myself grew up to become an educator. Oprah taught me weekly that education is the key to everything. She spent a great deal of time educating me on the injustice towards children in our country and the world and urged me to do something about it. I don’t let my favorite first born get off any easier. I teach this child of mine that she will always have a choice in life on whom to protect. At her age, sometimes protecting others simply means being kind in person, over text, and on social media.
Dance Like Tina Turner
Remember when Oprah went like a full season following Tina Turner around and wearing a Tina wig. I actually don’t know if it was a full season but it sure felt like it. I danced in my living room to the song of Proud Mary right along with them. I want my first born to dance like the world is watching and she doesn’t care what they think. She is dancing for the freedom of enjoying the moment. Just being present to the now.
My Favorite Things
It’s okay to want new and nice things, but there is a time and place for that. When Oprah revealed her favorite things each holiday season it was like waking up on a beach hammock. It is a not a daily thing but it may happen more than once in your lifetime. I teach my favorite first born that she can have the things she desires if she works to attain them.
Without the perseverance of hard work, she will not have proven character and so really what will all the stuff help then. Nothing. I want her to celebrate and receive her favorite things with an attitude of appreciation. I remember the day Oprah got her first Kindle. Here’s this billionaire getting a $100 product and she was overjoyed with it. I want my daughter to find joy in a single flower gifted to her all the way to the first car she purchases with her own money. It’s all a gift depending on how you look at it.
Never Go To The Second Location!
What an incredible piece of self empowerment that Oprah taught one afternoon in the early 90’s. If you are being attacked, do not go with the perpetrator. Do not let them take you to a second location. Your chances of survival go way down. Fight. Attack. Do not go gently into the night.
Now, this may seem like a heavy thing to lay at the feet of my innocent favorite first born, but my job is to make sure she stays innocent to the hurts in the world for as long as possible. I want my daughter to know that it is one thing to be polite to someone and quite another to follow someone somewhere all the while your internal alarm bells are whistling.
Be Generous Enough To Give 300 Strangers A Car
Now look, I don’t know what my favorite first born is going to do to support herself, but I am teaching her now that as she earns money cleaning bathrooms and running her Etsy craft site that she needs to be generous with her profits. I want her aware that she has a responsibility to give back. And one day she just might be a billionaire with a heart of financial giving! “You get a car… and you get a car… and you get a car!”
Eat. Pray. Love.
I ate up (pun intended) the episode with Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah sharing about her autobiographical accounts of her self-discovery. I want my daughter to enjoy life and eat the things that bring her joy without fear of her body changing. Her size 2 frame has told me that she won’t wear a certain color because it makes her look fat. Oh no girl! Not my daughter. My daughter will stand happy in who she is, not what she looks like. I want my daughter to pray and have her own relationship with her creator. I want my daughter to love. Not romantic love yet, but I want her to know and recognize the boundaries of a healthy loving relationship. I want her eyes to spot how loved people love people.
I sometimes wonder what the next generation of women will do without The Oprah Winfrey Show but then I remember that her lessons live on as a learning legacy through me and on to my daughter. One day, in the far off future, my grandchild might just ask me how her mama (my daughter) knows how to learn, how to dance, and how to love and I will exclaim with joy “Well Oprah taught her of course!”