Life can be challenging. Oprah Winfrey allowed us different “lenses” in which to examine this challenging life through. We are appreciative of this on many levels. Her entrée to the entertainment industry allowed several barriers to be removed and Oprah has continued to remove the darkness around life’s issues by shining sunlight into parts of our lived experience which has been courageous and enlightening. I believe she has done this by striking two powerful cords – tithing (giving back) and allowing us to experience her show through our five senses.

A friend recently shared that “tithing” can be done in three different ways. He mentioned that tithing could be done with time, talents, AND treasures. We are so accustomed to hearing about tithing as the sharing of our treasures. I have never heard of the other two. However, I think this is a good lens to examine why Oprah’s impact is so great. She has shared her time, talents, and treasures with us all.

I think we appreciate what she has done because she has given back in profound ways – almost leaving us wanting for nothing, as it pertains to information, after 25 years. Her show experiences have also touched our five senses – hear, see, touch, taste, and smell. Most of us experience our culture in the truest sense through all of these senses. Thus, Oprah has created a “culture” all her own because she has reached people through their five senses and in a profound by the utilization of time, talents, and treasures.

At this time we are posed with the question of what has Oprah’s impact been but almost as important, to whom will the torch be passed? We must be careful not to concentrate so much on what happens with Oprah’s time slot and bully pulpit. The networks always have and always will take care of that just fine. I think it is a critical time to ask ourselves what has our personal “impact” meant. How have we changed our family, community, work environment, etc. for the better? Did we ever do anything about the circumstances Oprah highlighted? So often people use the television as a place to vicariously live. We often watch, talk, and do nothing. I think Oprah would want for us to get off the couch and make a real impact in our own and other people’s lives. Oprah’s legacy will be profound in so many ways – what about yours?

Dr. Nathaniel J. Williams
November 22, 2009

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Nathaniel J. Williams knows that anyone can be successful. After losing his mother at a very early age, Dr. Williams and grew up in the New York City foster care system. Today, he is a Doctor of Education, President/CEO and founder of several nonprofit organizations. He is the host of a weekly talk show called, The Navigating Your Life Show with Dr. Nathaniel J. Williams. He is the author of several self-help books encompassing, The Absolutes of Success Series and a he is also a sought after motivational speaker.