Making a difference on TVBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Most people who appear on TV don’t take advantage of the golden opportunity that the popular medium provides them to connect with viewers and leave them with provocative and insightful food for thought. Happily, there are exceptions to that clueless and desultory rule—so let’s celebrate them!
First off, we toast Ellen DeGeneres for making it a habit to end each of her hit show’s daily telecasts with the simple but felt reminder, “Be kind to each other.”
Next, Sanjay Gupta recently made viewers sit up and listen when he reminded them, “Always remember to be grateful!”
That’s perfectly understandable, but on another occasion, his nugget of wisdom was tougher to crack: “Be grateful for the chance to fail.” Oh, wow. That’s a really tough row to hoe, but it ultimately makes sense—because there are many lessons to be learned from failure—if you know how to make yummy lemonade out of a basket full of sour lemons!
Only last month, a beauty queen came up with this lulu of a quote on TV: “Stop trying only when you win.” That takes a lot of guts and a bracingly empowering sense of self-worth, but if you can swing it, great!
Similarly inspirational, even if not couched in a convenient, quote-unquote way, are examples set by some on-cam faces and voices we recently had the pleasure of “meeting” on TV.
Topping our list this month is the 105-year-old woman who appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ show a day after her latest birthday, and wowed Ellen and the show’s viewers with her feistiness and abiding love for life.
Despite her being older than practically everybody on the planet, she revealed that she’s still able to drive a car—and in fact transported herself to the TV studio that day!
More, she shared the “secrets” of her remarkable longevity—a happy marriage, positive thinking and not being affected by anything that she couldn’t control, or change!
Also inspirational in an even more surprising way was the 95-year-old lady we caught on TV sometime back, who demonstrated how she could energetically dance up a storm and even execute a split—at her advanced age!
At the other end of the age spectrum, some TV shows have featured child prodigies who amaze viewers with their unique abilities—and make us realize that we too can do so much more with our lives than we’re doing now.
There’s the 4-year-old kid who can tick off the names of all of the American presidents without skipping a beat; the juvenile entrepreneurs who have launched profitable businesses even before they hit adolescence, and very ill children who are still optimistic about life even if they’re staring death in the face!
With so many inspiring role models of all ages on the tube, how can we not keep improving ourselves and refuse to give up the fight even when the fickle finger of fate gooses us where it hurts the most?!
Other people who have the privilege of hosting shows or even occasionally appearing as guests on TV should similarly remind themselves that the medium enables them to reach many people. So, they should take full advantage of the golden opportunity to inspire viewers, and share simple but felt insights about life and love, living and giving. Big or small, they can make a key difference on TV!
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