Friday, November 30, 2007

Sesame Street now has a warning label...Adults Only.
(Cheetah Mask)

According to a New York Times article, some of the characters and situations go against today's politically correct standards for pre-schoolers. Big Bird hallucinates. Cookie Monster has an eating disorder. Oscar the Grouch has an anger management problem.

I've watched Sesame Street since its beginning and loved its creativity, imagination and ability to teach and entertain children of all ages. I've watched my own children watch, laugh and learn from Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch. I see this new labeling as another way to take childhood away from children.

A child's imagination needs to be nurtured and encouraged so that a child grows up to be creative. Yes, Big Bird has an imaginary friend, Mr. Snuffleupagus. How many children grew up out there with a friend called, "Barbie", "Ken" or "GI Joe"? How many children carried their favorite stuffed animal everywhere they went, served them tea, put them to bed at night? Many of these same children grew up to be able to create characters in novels, plays or paintings.

Child's play is creative learning. A child's kitchen serves plastic food to imaginary diners who lick their plates, wear silly hats and invite bears to tea. This is a way for children to experiment and explore the world around them so that they grow up with more understanding. Yes, Cookie Monster gobbles cookies. How many children pretend to gobble plastic food? Cookie Monster is playing pretend. All the children get that and they love it. It fosters humor, imagination and creativity. Not unhealthy eating.

Children learn about feelings through play, too. They have arguments with their dolls, trucks and stuffed toys. Yes, Oscar the Grouch is grouchy and rude. So are children sometimes. By watching Oscar be grouchy, they can understand their own feelings and the consequences of acting on those feelings.

Sesame Street nutures children's imagination while teaching valuable lessons on life, creativity and the world around us. And one of its most important lessons is NOT to label anyone or anything but to accept and respect the creativity, imagination, intelligence and feelings of everyone in this world.

No comments: