You knew this post was coming. Admit it. You knew it.
I feel a bit of … sadness?… about Oprah’s last show airing today. I’m uncomfortable with it. For as long as I can remember, she’s been a staple in my life. Sometimes a daily pleasure, sometimes not.
I remember watching Oprah from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. all through junior high and high school (maybe even before that? I was a 40-year-old 10-year-old.) In college I watched Oprah with my roommate and my girlfriends. Post-college, I remember setting my VCR (score!) to tape episodes that looked far too good to miss.
Why do I respect her? It’s hard to answer that because it seems ridiculous not to respect Oprah.
She is a woman who has succeeded.
She has changed lives.
She’s empowered millions.
She’s encouraged the country to read.
She’s taught lessons and brought to light professionals, poets, authors and downright awesome people that we might never have known about.
She works hard and isn’t a shrinking daisy.
She knows what she wants and she does it.
She gives back.
I could go on and on.
When I was growing up, I don’t recall having had a professional woman to look up to. Oprah’s changed all that. She plays with the big boys. She’s heard by the big boys. She’s respected by the big boys.
Sure, there were a few years when she was absolutely un-relatable. I sensed it, too. A change in her priorities, maybe? She seemed to have a ridiculous regard for couch-jumpers and other celebrities. She dropped names like they were hot, it’s true. But she brought it back to where it needed to be and went on to again air shows that made positive impacts in so many folks’ lives.
But again, you can love her show, or you can hate it. But what you can’t deny is her impact on a generation of girls and women who now see that they can do it, too. It’s a modern-day, realistic Horatio Alger story for girls.
It’s the same message I want my ladies to know: Girls, work hard. Work harder than most. Be open. Be respectful. (ALWAYS.) Be open to change. Learn to listen to your heart, your conscience and your God. Then do it. Move. Don’t be lazy. You can do it. Believe it. Be the change.