Most of the time, the television medium “lives down” to its sad reputation for being a “wasteland” of negative inputs—and outcomes.
Once in a bracing while, however, the much-maligned medium redeems itself by way of some truly inspiring images, experiences and “small” heroic acts that it generously shares with viewers.
Topping our list of such “inspirational” images this past month was the medical news item about a new procedure that enables heretofore deaf people to hear.
What made the short feature a real heart-tugger was its inspired choice of patient to illustrate the “miracles” that the radical medical innovation is able to effect: A 3-year-old boy who was deaf from birth, and had never heard his father’s voice.
With the help of a new implant, the boy was shown looking astounded and then absolutely thrilled as he heard for the very first time, with fervor and joy, his dad saying, “I love you!”
At first, the boy was perplexed, wondering where the strange sound was coming from—but, when he put one and one together and came up with the great significance of that unforgettable moment, the effect on viewers was truly miraculous.
They empathetically celebrated not just the miracle of advanced medical science, but also the love that father and son shared, and how much happier their lives would be, now that they could articulate everything they felt for each other.
Similarly inspirational was the even more recent show biz item about one of the fans of singer-actress Bette Midler, and her expressed wish that, before she expired from cancer, she could hear her idol sing to her.
When Bette heard about her fan’s dying wish, she dropped everything and did just that: She sang to the bedridden patient, energizing her with a heartfelt rendition of one of her signature songs, “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
Sadly, after only a few days, Bette’s fan died—but, her idol’s heartfelt and exceedingly personal performance had indeed made a big difference—when it mattered most.
Viewers similarly benefited from the empathetic experience, because it taught them that (some) stars put their awesome popularity and “power” to good, inspirational effect—and that even noncelebrities like you and me can move mountains—in needy and hurting people’s heart of hearts—when the need arises, and is selflessly filled.
On local TV, a number of documentaries on how teachers and students in remote areas walk for hours to get to school have also had a bracing and moving impact on viewers. Teachers in urban areas are humbled by their rural counterparts’ great zeal and spirit of sacrifice, and students are motivated to take their studies much more seriously than they ordinarily, nonchalantly do.
Similarly upbeat and inspirational in effect was the recent report about a group of doctors and surgeons who visited a remote community in Mindanao to perform cleft-lip and cleft-palate surgeries on over a hundred children, free of charge. Having known some people with similar oral deformations, we realize how life-altering those “miraculous” operations must have been for the young patients—who were finally able to smile! Ditto for the empathetic viewer, whose gratitude to those heroic surgeons knew no bounds! More such inspirational TV features, please.