There are a lot of things I want my nephew to know about when he gets older: the joy of coloring, the fun of reading books, the excitement of music and the happiness of using his imagination.
But, because he’s not quite 7 months old, it seems I may have to wait for him to discover all of this. However, I recently decided it was time to show him one of the greatest TV shows created – “Sesame Street.”
The popular program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year; five decades of sunny days sweeping the clouds away with a group of unique residents. I’m of the opinion that most people have watched the show at some time in their life either as a child, parent, grandparent or other caregiver.
As my nephew was sitting in my lap, I held up my phone so he could watch YouTube videos of the theme song. He started smiling and reaching for my phone as the digital clips played. This baby must love “Sesame Street,” I thought. Why else would he grab toward the images on the screen?
When I showed him the “Fraggle Rock” opening credits and a performance by the UW varsity band, he didn’t have the same reaction. (Maybe those require a more mature taste of someone who is, say, 9 months old.)
I strongly support “Sesame Street” because of what it teaches children. It’s the show that reinforced learning about the alphabet, counting, friendship, celebrating diversity and emotions. “Sesame Street” also has some pretty catchy tunes (in fact, as I write this the song “I’ve Got a New Way to Walk” is running through my head).
It’s been some time since I watched an entire episode of the children’s program, but I have seen clips of celebrities working with my favorite characters to teach lessons like delayed gratification and respect. I’m assuming some of the storylines have been recycled from when I watched the show as a young child, but with different characters. I am aware new characters have been added like Julia, who is autistic, to teach children about people with different abilities.
I’m hoping my nephew will want to watch “Sesame Street” and fall in love with the characters. I’m rooting for Grover, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and Mr. Snuffleupagus, but if he ends of loving Elmo, I’ll have to accept that. (Hey, after living through the great Elmo craze of the ‘90s, the red monster tends to be on the lower end of my favorite “Sesame Street” residents list.)
And I’m hoping there will be plenty of other children who will learn from the friendliest neighborhood to ever exist, because everyone deserves to know how to get to Sesame Street.