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When Television Provides a Lesson in Giving Back

If I were a teacher, I would require my students to watch the television reality show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Itís not a lesson in history or science. But I do think that one hour weekly of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition could instill something desperately needed: the desire to give back.

Each episode, Ty Pennington and his crew of home designers and carpenters create a glorious new home for a deserving family. Yes, itís cool to watch the old home get demolished and see a new, beautiful home emerge. But it is so much more than that. What you are really seeing is the reason why each lucky family was chosen for this special gift Ė and ironically it is because these families have had anything but good luck.

From devastating illness to natural disasters, from extreme poverty to the death of loved ones, the families receiving a home makeover have experienced more sadness than many of us ever will in our lifetimes. And through all the tears, these families get by with invincible love for each other and unstoppable efforts to help their own communities even when they, too, need help.

This is the most important lesson for our children today Ė that as a member of a community, we have a responsibility to others. We must care for those who cannot care for themselves, right?

In an episode from last season, a couple struggled to care for their teenage son with cerebral palsy. Despite their struggles, the boyís mom found time somewhere in her demanding life to create a baseball team for children with disabilities, like her son, called Dream Catchers. Amazing, I think, and humbling too.

We donít have to be young to learn these life lessons, do we? When I watch the good deeds done by people who have the weight of the world bearing down on them, I feel like I should do more.

Shouldnít we all count our blessings, and then turn around and be a blessing to someone else who could really use one?

If youíre looking for a good reason to justify letting your kids watch television, sit in front of the television to watch an entire episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition with your children. I bet youíll agree, that itís the best hour in front of the TV youíll ever spend.


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