Sesame Street and its Impact on Learning Inside and Outside the Church

The upcoming live stream slated to be held on December 30, 2018 will focus on the topic, “Why can’t Church be more fun?” We cannot discuss this without looking at the impact the show Sesame Street has had — and still has — on our lives today. Since the show made its debut in November 1969, several generations of people have been raised watching this program. As widely known, the show was designed to make learning fun and to engage children in the learning process through short musical bytes and skits with the help of the famous Muppets. Today I see toddlers enthralled with watching the show on their parents’ iphones.

I don’t know what to make of this. On the one hand, I am glad to see that toddlers and young children are learning — and finding it enjoyable. Perhaps it encourages them to fill their thirst for learning. But is the focus on learning or on the vehicle through which learning occurs? In other words, if it isn’t fun, it isn’t worth learning.

I grew watching Captain Kangaroo in the morning. I would call this show a milder version of Sesame Street. There was a fun, entertaining quality to it, but it wasn’t relentless. I have fond memories hearing stories read to viewers of the Five Chinese Brothers, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, and The Little Red Lighthouse.

I think there are some aspects of learning that are not necessarily fun, that require self control and self discipline, especially when learning becomes difficult. I can’t imagine a medical student learning anatomy to an upbeat tune sung by the Muppet Ernie. You may think this is a silly thought. However, learning any habit in life is something that is done over time. There is no magical age when one can say, “Voila, I am now self disciplined!” So again I ask the question, is there a problem with this statement: “If it isn’t fun, it isn’t worth learning?” Is this an accurate observation on my part? What am I missing here? What do parents who grew up with Sesame Street think now that their kids are growing up on it? I will continue to discuss this topic next week.

The blessing of the Lord be upon you!

The unworthy +Paul

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