Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hold on Loosely

Ok, so I was going to wait until Epiphany to post again, but I ran across two related editorials that just inspired to me to weigh in on the topic of protecting our children. The first editorial took aim at a recent segment on Sesame Street.

The basic argument is that:
Kids need images of trustworthy grown-ups, especially as they're relaxing at bedtime. If this skit were made for adults, then maybe we'd find it funny. But as entertainment for children, it's just kind of weird.

You missed the boat on this one, Sesame Street.
Personally, I remember watching The Muppet Show as well as Sesame Street when I was a child, and I found such silliness as loud lullabies extremely funny. The again, my two favorite Muppets back then were Robin the Frog and Crazy Harry. So go figure. In any case, I think taking Sesame Street to task over that segment is probably a little much. I think most children recognize it as a joke... unless their parents decide to sing that lullaby at night—as opposed to 10am, when Sesame Street is on the air!

And I'm afraid that I'm not joking—well, not joking that much anyway—about parents doing something like that to their children. Because there's the second editorial, which takes solid aim at videos like this one:

Yes, the child is cute, and I don't entirely disagree with the idea of using "you got stuck" as a learning moment for "don't climb behind the couch." The child, however, probably did not deserve to be called "full of bologna" and clearly didn't deserve to be laughed at. Add in the fact that these parents made the poor child wait for them to go get their camera so they could put the frightening predicament on YouTube for everyone to see... I don't know, for a child to say "I need help" and for that help to be withheld and conditional just seems wrong to me. I worry that the child learned not to climb behind the couch—because the adults in my life might not help me if I get stuck.

Our society sits in this weird place where we over-protect our children—and laugh at their pain. No, worse, we laugh at their pain and broadcast it over the internet so everyone else in the world can laugh at it, too. As usual, I think there's a balance to be had that we as a society are completely lacking.

Protect your children just enough,
Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

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