Sesame Street will celebrate 42 years of children’s television broadcasting in November. I like to think that Kermit the Frog and Big Bird and Grover and Cookie Monster and Bert and Ernie are just eight months older than me. Of course, that’s not why I’m thinking about Sesame Street today. THIS is why…
|Grandbaby Talen, 5 months old and already fascinated by Sesame Street.|
Forty-two years on air is a pretty amazing track record. The show’s creators Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett combined short films, humor, music, live action and animation with Jim Henson and his team of puppeteers to harness the childlike quality of the human imagination and yoke it together with educational teaching tools. How many of us learned how to count, how to read, even how to get along better with others while watching Sesame Street?
Oh, sure, there’s been controversy …after only one year on the air, “a state commission in Mississippi voted to ban Sesame Street because of its ‘highly integrated cast of children’ which ‘the commission members felt … Mississippi was not yet ready for’.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesame_Street#cite_note-missban-116)
At some point, even before the Peewee Herman debacle, someone suggested that Bert and Ernie might be gay, since they live together. In my opinion, people who sit around looking for homosexual tendencies in a couple of puppets need to have their minds washed out with strong lye soap.
Even lovable, huggable Cookie Monster came under public fire. His cookie addiction reportedly setting a bad example for children. These days, you’ll find Cookie including healthy, nutritious snacks to his diet. Poor Cookie… I know how he feels, but we all have to eat better as we get older.
Oscar has been recommended as a candidate for antidepressant therapy since he’s always so grouchy. But then, that’s why we love him. Didn’t you always want to venture down in that trash can and see what his house looked like?
Grover (my favorite growing up) probably has adult ADHD and delusional tendencies. He does, after all, sometimes think he’s Super Grover. But he also has a sweet, kind heart and wants to help others.
During the years when I was “too cool” for Sesame Street and the time I had my own kids, new characters joined the neighborhood. Most notably, Elmo. Remember the tickle-me Elmo doll? Parents having knock-down drag-outs over the last one on the shelf at Walmart before Christmas? Elmo would not approve, I’m sure, since he’s all about being nice. So nice he drives most people crazy.
Criticism aside, the next time you think about Sesame Street, for whatever reason, remember how powerful and far-reaching our imaginations are. Like Jim Henson (pictured at left), let’s be bold enough to do things that haven’t been done before, in spite of the controversy, in spite of the opposition, whether we are lawyers or teachers or writers or ministers of the Gospel.
Our God-given creativity, unleashed, has the power to extend far beyond our own lifetimes. Let’s release that creativity for His glory and honor in whatever we set our hands to.