Oprah’s Last Show! Project: What Have You Learned?

23rd May 2011

The Oprah Winfrey Show is almost over, and I’m a little disoriented. As many of you already know, I admire Oprah deeply.

Last week I was in Chicago with Laura, Margaret, Elizabeth, and 14,000 close friends to attend the taping of the Oprah Farewell Spectacular.

Y’all, I’ve had narcotic-induced dreams that were less surreal. Stevie Wonder! Aretha Franklin! Diane Sawyer! Queen Latifah! I kept waiting to find myself on stage in my underwear for the Algebra Exam Segment. (Laura is doing a recap of the whole thing, so check in there for details.)

I was weepy through most of the show, thinking about everything I’ve learned from Oprah and her team, and I know a lot of you feel the same way. The last show is Wednesday, and I’d like to celebrate by posting about what we’ve all learned over the years. If you’d like to play along, take a photo (like the ones below) of yourself holding a little sign with something you’ve learned from the Oprah Winfrey Show. And then:

– Post your photo to the Thanks, Oprah! Flickr Group.
– Tweet your photo with the hashtag #thanksoprah.

I can’t wait to see them, and again I’ll post a roundup of my favorites here Wednesday. For now, here are mine.

Ten Things I’ve Learned from the Oprah Winfrey Show











Your turn.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with. If you’re not feeling photo motivated, comments are welcome too. Tune in Wednesday when we’ll discuss our collective wisdom and what to do next with our DVRs.

49 thoughts on “Oprah’s Last Show! Project: What Have You Learned?

  1. Sarah

    I’m so impressed that you’ve been able to so clearly remember and verbalize her teachings. All of them sounded familiar and were great reminders, but I couldn’t have given you any from memory! I’m excited to see what everyone comes up with… Another lovely project Miss Maggie!

  2. Emily

    My two favorite Oprah-isms that I quote a lot to friends are

    1) When people show you who they are, believe them.
    And
    2) We teach people how to treat us.

    I will always remember coming home from high school and watching Oprah with my mom. We did it almost every day and it’s a nice memory.

  3. Christian

    Oh I love this. This weekend my husband and sons were dumbfounded as I sat and cried b/c she was on the cover of the paper with the quote “It is over.” And I seriously thought “Maggie would totally get this, even if these boys don’t!” I love that quote about your face lighting up when you see your child and I always try to follow it, too. I am going to have to do this photo! So many good lessons to choose from…

  4. Sarah

    Some of my favorites have already been mentioned! Here are some others:

    Doubt means don’t.

    Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different.

    What you give attention to grows.

  5. michelle k.

    I learned, then re-learned, then learned again to believe that when people show you who they are, believe them.

    I also learned that when god throws pebbles, it’s best to listen. Mostly due to the fact that if you don’t, god starts throwing rocks, then bricks…you get the story from there.

    I will miss Oprah.

  6. seaoutof

    These are great reminders. Soon, I think your regular readers need to get together and do this project as, “Best things I’ve learned from Maggie.”

    You’re so very often a reminder of all that’s graceful, kind and real in the world–even and perhaps especially–as you’re complimenting others. Thank you for being an ongoing source of inspiration.

  7. Alyce

    You aren’t going to want to hear what I have to say, so I am going to sit back watch you enjoy your moment in the sun. Happy for you that you were able to be there.

  8. Roxanne

    Love this….and I think my son has that truck…it was his dad’s from the sixties.

    I’m 39 so I grew up on some Oprah. She is my mom, sister, Gramma and aunts rolled into one. I grew up a bi-racial child in Louisiana and moved to New York. She was my southern charm in my northern clime every afternoon. I count her as one of my goddesses (Madonna, Hillary and Martha, too. I can’t let Madonna go, the ’80’s imprinted too hard).

    My favorite lesson from Oprah: We teach others how we want to be treated. This lesson taught me
    1. divorce my husband
    2. Marry my soulmate
    3. Live with abandon and disregard for what others think (within reason:-)

  9. Puanani

    I’ll get on the photo, but the one I hear over and over again is:

    Your experiences are just things that happened to you. They aren’t you.

  10. Sarah

    your passion is what you will talk about with complete strangers on the street, because you love it so much

  11. Amanda

    Pay it forward whenever you can because it can feel as good for you as it does for the other person.

  12. Jenny

    Love this idea, Maggie.

    The greatest thing I learned from Oprah in these 25 years is: THIS MOMENT is the only one I know for sure I have. I’ll post a pic to the pool in the morning.

  13. Allie

    When someone tells you who they are believe them

    When you know better you do better

    It’s not about loving potato chips

    Being a good mom means taking care of yourself too

    Learn to listen to your inner voice. That is your wisdom.

    If you don’t listen to the whisper it will show up again as a scream.

  14. Heather

    When I knew better, I did better.

    That thought allowed me to forgive my father for being a terrible father. I realised that he didn’t wake up in the morning and decide to be a bad father. He really was doing the best he could.

  15. Cindy

    This is a great idea! I personnaly never watched Oprah, so I don’t have anything that I learned from her. Except “All my life I’ve had to fight…” from the Color Purple. Does that count?

  16. Frumptastic

    I have to admit, I am not a huge Oprah Show fan (no tomato throwing please) but I think she is a great philanthropist and has given all people, women especially, the courage to dream big.

  17. Elise

    Having a baby is like having a puppy (childfree by choice show in the ’80s)

    Lie to Oprah and she will publically spank you, but the publicity you will receive in return will outweigh your personal humiliation.

    Skinny people really are happier.

  18. sugarleg

    Never give up.

    The Universe first talks to you in a whisper. Pay attention.

    Gratitude.

    (thanks Maggie. if I can figure out how to work the flickr machine I will do the assignment properly.)

  19. Allison

    I have not watched a whole lot of Oprah, but one of the few episodes I watched had a such an impact on my life. Back in the mid-90s, Oprah ran the Chicago marathon.

    I watched that episode, saw Oprah muscle through it, and I thought to mysef, “If Oprah Winfrey can run a marathon, then so can I.”

    I ran the New York City marathon three years later, and then, just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, I ran it again the following year. I am still so proud of this accomplishment, and I still credit Oprah with giving me the inspiration.

    Thanks Oprah!

  20. Mary

    Things I learned from Oprah:

    1. Dogs are people too.
    2. Money, power, and access to anything in the world does not equal good taste.
    3. Sanctimony is not attractive.
    4. “The Secret” is malarckey.
    5. Prefacing a production with “Oprah Winfrey Presents” isn’t any better than “Tyler Perry Presents.”
    6. Humility is important. Lack of humility is grating.
    7. Gratuitous outlay of cash on gross self indulgence is off putting.

    I could go on and on. She really jumped the shark somewhere in the late 90s.

  21. sugarleg

    forgot a fave. (and thanks for letting me use the comments section as my own checklist…)

    Always sign your own checks.

    and for those that don’t have positive feelings about Oprah or The Oprah Winfrey Show, please consider finding another thread in which to vent those opinions today. your opinions are valid but lose their power when stated here, in a place where the intention is for gratitude about the shared experience of her impact on our lives.

  22. Monica

    Woah, why did I just get teary reading through those? That was unexpected.

    I’m not even a regular viewer but even I recognize The Power of Oprah!

  23. Lisa

    Never allow yourself to be taken to the second location.

    Bungee jumping or free falling in a harness can hurt your vajay jay.

  24. denise

    What does the “second location” quote mean? I don’t understand it out of context.

  25. Christy

    >34 Denise, it’s about being attacked. She did a show about women who were the victims of violent attacks and an expert said– if you are ever attacked, do everything you can to NOT let them take you to a second location.

    Women have talked on the show about how that lesson saved their saves.

  26. GirlsGoneChild

    I love this idea so much. Unfortunately (don’t hit me) I’ve never watched an episode of Oprah before. Okay, you can hit me. Otherwise, I love everything about this post. And I think she’s amazing. And I think you’re amazing and I love everyone amen.

  27. Coco

    “Doesn’t matter what your momma did; doesn’t matter what your daddy did. You are responsible for your own life.”

  28. Dea

    I am paraphrasing here:

    A person who does not accept your “no” is trying to control you.

  29. Catherine

    Thank you, Oprah, for 25 amazing years.

    You taught me that being authentic is the best gift I can give myself, and the world. Thank you for that. You will be missed.

  30. Rachana Shakayawar

    Hello Friends!

    I’m from India.
    Used to watch Oprah show daily during my childhood.
    The first thing that I remember that I learnt from her and her show was to ‘love unconditionally.’
    Most of the episodes of her show taught me simple living and great mini tips to feel happy and content in life.

    Definitely I owe a lot to her and her show when it comes to learn an art of living.

    But than past the show shopped showcasing in India with the change shuffle of channel’s timetable.

    Though, I made sure and I went through the links and articles when ever possible to know what was happening in the show and Oprah’s life.

    Recently, I visited U.S. and was fortunate enough to watch the huge Christmas celebration and gift giving moments from Oprah. That show was fabulous.

    SHE is such an inspiration to all of us. And a powerful woman who with her little words creates magic and changes people life in blinks.

    I wished I could attend her show in Chicago. But now since things have changed completely and for the betterment I guess I don’t complaint I’m celebrating with her, miles away cherishing all what I have learned from this lady!!!

    So so love her! Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful post with us. And sharing about Oprah is Special.

    ~Keep the Spark ALive..

  31. Kerilyn

    I think you should send this post and your flickr group to Oprah via email… Part of the dreamer in me just BELIEVES that she is reading them.

    :) Thanks for allowing me to participate!

  32. marilee pittman

    I loved your post and all the comments. I hardly ever watched Oprah, but I recognize her tremendous influence in making the world a better place.

  33. vickie maloney

    I loved your post and made a reference to it on my blog. I think Oprah’s best lesson for me was to live my life authentically, and to get rid of all the ‘shoulds” She made a huge difference in my life. I’m a better person, wife, and mother beacuse of her.

  34. 6512 and growing

    Wow, your list is amazing. The pinnacle of my Oprah-watching was after school in 4th grade (!!) with a bowl of kraft mac’n’cheese on my lap. She has come a long way. Beautiful tribute.

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