I love Sesame Street. When my 2 year old niece was here visiting a few months ago, I discovered that I can get Sesame Street on demand through my cable company. This is exciting news. I love children's television almost as much as I love children's literature. Call me juvenile and immature. I love those furry, colorful monsters. They're old friends. For most of my childhood we had a small black and white TV and I distinctly remember sitting in front of it with my sister, Weez, and singing along, learning Spanish, my numbers, colors, and the alphabet.
I didn't realize that Sesame Street was also teaching me other pertinent information that would shape my life going forward. Sesame Street taught me about caring for my community and neighbors. I learned about friendship, and sharing, and communicating honestly and fairly. The mix of cultures on Sesame Street taught me tolerance and acceptance and the great celebration that we should hold for diversity.
Sesame Street started as a pilot project, a result of the passion and concern for children and education by a small group of people in New York City. The narrative around the start of the program and its growth is every bit as compelling, if not more so, than the content of the show itself. A few months ago, I wrote a couple posts on this blog that were inspired by Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street. Weez bought it for me for my birthday and I read it cover to cover, taking delight in every word. My posts talked about a life lived in 3 acts and the need to prepare to be lucky. They are good reminders of the subliminal messages that are so important for children to receive early on in life.
So today, we celebrate the milestone of 40 years for this incredible program. It has without question improved the lives of millions of children around the world. At Sesame headquarters at One Lincoln Plaza I hope they are raising glasses high tonight in honor of a big yellow bird, a green trash can inhabitant, a blue cookie lover, a pair of friends obsessed with oatmeal and rubber duckies, a purple count who loves numbers, a red lovable three year old and his goldfish, Dorothy, and the many others who are the first friends that so many of us have come to know and love. Our lives are so much richer for having known them and learned from them. Happy birthday, Sesame Street!