Truth is Stranger than TV
I’ve never spent much time around “reality TV” or talk shows, and so I was more than nervous when I was invited to be a part of the Dr. Phil Show representing Project Patch. I was certain that we wanted to be involved, because it seemed like the only way to get this girl into our program that really needed help. It was clear that it was an answer to prayer.
I actually thought it was a prank call from one of our Ranch staff when the call came in. However, it became clear very soon that the call was for real and they were serious, and so I became serious, too. Four days later I flew into Hollywood, put on some makeup, and sat in the audience to help a girl and her family.
You can learn more about the show: “Troubled Teen: Who Will Take Danielle?”.
As I sat in the audience listening to “Danielle’s” horrific story, I noticed that I just wasn’t as shocked as the people around me. You see, I’ve heard so many stories in which kids do the most destructive things to get their parent’s attention.
I also wasn’t surprised by the utter helplessness that Jeff, the dad, was sharing. We meet parents every day that may not be doing the right things; but they care, are overwhelmed, and just don’t know what to do. Why was this family on TV? Because that ended up being one of Jeff’s only options for getting his daughter help.
Some people are on TV for fame, fortune, and ego. At least for one episode that I was involved in, we were there to get a mom to let her daughter receive the help she needs. Sure, it would have been great to do it privately, like we had been trying to do for months, but it worked! Yes, TV networks profited from the pain and drama of a family, but as far as I’m concerned it was a win for the girl, the family, and for Project Patch.
So, is all TV true? Probably not much is entirely accurate. Yet, I won’t always assume that things are less complicated than they appear. Some are much more complicated and dark than TV can capture. Don’t underestimate the challenges, pain, and chaos that teens around you are facing. Also, don’t look down on others just because they turn to TV to get help. Most people trust their media personalities more than any unknown counselors or organizations.
I’m thankful to be able to do my small part to help kids and families, and invite you to join us in this work.
Question: Have you underestimated the amount of pain people are experiencing around you?