NaBloPoMo’08, Day 9: Won’t You be my Neighbor?

Okay, so it’s day nine, and I’m definitely starting to wane on ideas I have for entries.  Usually, they hit me at about 10 at night.

This morning, I woke up at about 8, which is almost ungodly early for a Sunday.  In like fashion, about the only think on was Mr. Rogers.  I can’t help myself: every time it’s on, I have to watch it.

Mr. Rogers is a rite of passage for children.  I can’t even imagine a childhood without Mr. Rogers.  The sad thing is that for a lot of children, Mr. Rogers is considered “outdated” and not even part of the growing experience.  Mr. Rogers is considered “too slow”: there isn’t enough flashing imagery, not enough speed, not enough action.  Mr. Rogers taught children to be patient, taught children to share, taught them to love themselves and be curious about the world around them.  I guess I worry that children’s TV now is merely meant to keep them quiet for hours on end, and panders to a speed of life that has no room for kids to be kids.

Something else that I found disheartening is that the iconic Sesame Street character Cookie Monster has been changed to Veggie Monster, and the classic song “C is for Cookie” has been changed to “C is for Carrot”.  We accept peddling McDonalds and non-active play to children, and then try to quell our guilt by changing our classic educational TV to something more “vegetable-friendly”.  Which isn’t to say that I don’t think there’s room for improving upon the past, but at what price?

If you think that I’m making a big deal out of nothing, I challenge you to watch this video without having a tear come to your eye.  Then tell me that Mr. Rogers isn’t important for all children, no matter what generation.  I will always fight for Mr. Rogers: he thought I was special, and I know that he fought for me, before he knew me, without even knowing me.  It’s the least I can do for him.