Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Will I Let Oprah Tell Me What to Do?

I gawk at accidents. Just like the next gal.

That's kind of how I feel about Oprah.

If I am sewing or folding laundry or cleaning out my office and she's on, I'll stop for just a little look.

Just to see what she's talking about today. Kind of like knowing the opposition's plan or stance.

I used to love the show. Brad went to law school in Chicago, and it was a rite of passage for all the wives to attend an Oprah taping at least once during the three years we were there. I got to go TWICE. And both times, I was on TV. I was famous. I asked questions (way back in the day when she fielded questions from mere mortals in attendance). I made a man cry. I stumped a nationally recognized legal mind.

Don't believe me? Ask my mom. She still has both episodes on tape.

That was all back in the day. Back in the day, she still occasionally did a sleazy topic like Jenny Jones. Back in the day, she allowed others to take the stage, even for just a moment.

The all-mighty Oprah knows all--from decorating (where you really can't argue with her and Nate) to politics (where I always argue) to celebrities (who she rarely argues with, even when they're full of crap).

She may have lost me on Monday.

You can access the information from Monday's episode on Not gonna bother linking to it. Enough of the stupidity will be exposed here.

Oprah spotlighted two families that were willing to take a challenge that boasted it would give the participants the "best life," not the "best stuff." Like Oprah really can teach that lesson? Have you ever seen the building she lives in in Chicago? A picture of her CA spread or her palatial Hawaiian estate? Anyway, she found two viewers who were willing to expose all in their lives for time on TV (No, not like me when I was on the show. I just asked questions. No one delved into my private life!). One family was actually LDS, I believe. I mean, how many places in America supply naked #10 cans of rice with a blue dot on the top? And how many families actually have 50-100 boxes of granola bars in the pantry?

The gist was that they needed to reevaluate their opinions on the role money and possessions play in their lives. Great topic, I thought. There were a few things she asked of them that I thought were fine, until she got to the idea that families should eat dinner together at home most nights. How could I disagree with this? Prepare yourselves. Here it comes:

As Oprah was discussing the results of this adventure with the "expert," Oprah casually mentioned that the Obamas regularly eat dinner together in the White House, and "don't you think this will influence the rest of America to take the time to have dinner together as their families, just because they know the Obamas are sitting together eating dinner, discussing their day? That should really make a change, don't you think?"

I froze.

I know she has no idea what the teachings of the Gospel entail. I know she hasn't been exposed to the counsel of a Prophet of God. I'll make allowances for that. But she has no family of her own. She doesn't understand the effort and work it takes to round up a family for dinner. She has no idea what it's like to shop grocery deals and balance a menu. At least not without her staff and chef and Bob Greene. Every expert on family interaction, etc., recommends families eating together as a basic ritual that bonds you to each other. But for her to attribute any success attained towards better family life to the OBAMAS eating dinner together nightly was just outrageous. Our country is in a tailspin. Financial climate has never been more volatile (no thanks to global warming). Stock market is in a free fall. My 401k looks like the balance in my 8-year-old's savings account. But Obama can save the families of our country by eating together with Michelle and the girls! Wow.

I try to have dinner for my family every night for a few reasons:
#1--Prophets of God have told me that my family will reap the rewards of spending that time together. And we have.

#2--Prophets of God have told me that establishing this tradition with my family will give us quality time together and make memories. And we have.

#3--I have a few drops of common sense that dictate to me the easiest way to feed a family of 10 is to prepare one meal (except for the formula--CPS might have a problem with me feeding a 3-month-old beets and chicken) put the food on the table, and accept no excuses of dislike or disgust at the spread, thus teaching my kids to be less picky about their food options. And it's worked. Just ask my mom.

Something inside me wants to abort this tradition, just because the Obamas and the Oprah recommend it. But I'm not that shallow. I would much rather be found in line with prophetic counsel, even if just this once the Os follow that example. I would much rather have my family have this stability and tradition. Even if it can be said that we are like them.

I visibly cringe at the association. I'm not following Oprah. I'm following the Prophet. He knows the way. Even if she happened onto a nugget of truth.

Epiphany #48--I will continue to have dinner together with my family. Despite what the opposition says in agreement. And that's huge.


  1. Okay! Jeez! I'll come home for dinner on time.

  2. I have a different take on Oprah's comment-I think they is a glimmer of truth in what she says. There are people in our nation who look up and even idolize Obama, and Oprah. And they will fashion their lives and thoughts and practices after what Obama wears, or exercises, or how he eats dinner. Some of those families will begin to eat dinner together because they heard about the Obamas, others because they heard Oprah, and others becuase they have heard the studies done that show the positive impact on children. I'm all for any of it. Any motivation to do good is a step in the right direction. Sure, I'd love it if they all heard the Prophet tell us to do something, recognized him as a Prophet of God, and followed his advice. That's not happening. So if they hear someone else say it, and it means a positive change in their lives, or even better a positive change in their family I'm all for it. Kind of like why people obey the law, some do it because they don't want to get in trouble, some because they know it's the "right" thing to do, others have a higher understanding of morality. Does it matter why they don't rob my home? Not so much. While we can hope for higher motivations than emulating Oprah, I'm willing to take what I can get. Anything that improves the family improves society, and that is what we are all after.

    Thanks for my morning brain stimulation...Jamie

  3. Well, I'm in the middle of you and your friend Jamie there. It bugs the crap out of me that people are so mindless and stupid that they would only do something because Oprah or the Obamas said so. On the other hand, IF it can actually make such mindless and stupid people do something good, then hooray. Frankly I think the more scarey thing is HOW MUCH INFLUENCE Oprah has on the masses. Let's be honest here, Obama got elected because of her. haha In other news, I do make dinner every night, but mostly it's just me and Maggie eating together. We need to work on a few of the finer points of this counsel.

  4. The problem with people following Obama and Oprah in doing something good, is that they will follow equally their inumerable lame, stupid, harmful, dangereous, ridiculous, (etc.) suggestions also. This is not a problem when you follow the Prophet. Someone has accused me of being a sheep for following a Prophet. Who are the sheep now?

  5. That's the point I was trying to get across. Guess I kinda missed it in translation.
    I just think of all the stupid things they get people to do and believe, and it made me angry that they confuse people with good things and lead them to do wrong things as well.

  6. AMEN, and AMEN, and AMEN. That's all.

  7. Somehow it would seem I missed the whole point, not a new thing, and I'm sure not to be the last time either. I understand the post so much better now...Jamie

  8. I used to like Oprah a LOT. She was so down to earth. Unfortunately, all that power has changed her, and she's started to believe her own publicity.

    The humility I loved is gone, but in her favor, it did take quite a while for her to change. I guess she withstood her own fame as long as she could.

    I miss her, frankly. The old her.

  9. crack me up!...whether you meant to or not. Great epiphany!!