My niece happens to be in love with Olivia, the spunky little pig character created by author Ian Falconer. When her grandmother reads to her, she puts special “tsk, tsk” emphasis on the part where Olivia messes up the walls with paint.
When I read the same book with her last weekend, I marveled at the Degas and Pollack works on the pages. Regardless of which of us is sitting beside her, my niece delights in our individual versions of what’s unfolding on the page.
The idea of children’s entertainment is to educate and stimulate children, but there is also a big piece that’s about provoking thought and starting conversations with the adults in their lives. Ideally, they are moved to ask questions. It is then that parents or caretakers can answer and give a point of view. And what an opportunity and privilege each and every time.
If it takes a village, then the best case scenario is that the "villagers" bring a diversity of viewpoints to the child, all from a place of love and nurturing.
This brings me to the petition for Bert and Ernie to marry and every other darned trumped up controversy over kids’ entertainment we’re subjected to these days.
We dispensed with evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell’s evil homosexuality “scandal” regarding Tinky Winky – the purple character in the Teletubbies – back in 1999 and then again in 2007 when Polish politician Ewa Sowinska bristled at his little red bag and took it as far as having a sexologist declare it had no ill effects on children.
Goodness. It is already mortifying enough that so many grownups can’t decide where they stand on an issue until they consult with their political party’s talking points, but now we’re going to keep taking our agendas to preschoolers’ TV programming?
How very high road.
Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. To continue reading her column on the Bert & Ernie debate, click here. Colasurdo's website is www.nancola.com. Follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.