Thursday, September 28, 2006

Good Ol' Fashioned Values

A long time ago I used to provide technical support for Road Runner internet service customers. One bit of swag I got from the head honchoes was a Road Runner lunch bag, with a picture of the famous Warner Bros bird silk-screened on it. I still use it today.

The other day I started doodling and found myself looking at that lunch bag, and before I knew it, the Road Runner was racing across a piece of cardstock:

I showed the picture to my little girls - who were thrilled. I explained who the Road Runner was and how he was constantly running away from Wile E. Coyote, and I found some footage on YouTube:

So I sat at my computer with my three little girls on my lap (not an easy task, but I'm fortunate to have a sizable lap) and watched some Road Runner.

They were squealing with delight - they've never seen anything like this in their lives! The only kids' shows they watch are what's on Kids' CBC on weekday mornings, and it's all rather shallow, sappy stuff: Dragon Tales, Tractor Tom, Poko, Lunar Jim, The Save-Ums (ughhh), and those ~lovely~ Doodlebops with their ~catchy~ pop tunes (ughhh again). I do somewhat approve of Nanalan', although the show revolves around a little girl whose mommy drops her off at her Nana's while she goes to work. Despite that minor shortcoming, the show is full of fun and reality; portraying the world as a kid sees it. And of course, there's nature-themed Zoboomafoo, hosted by the animal-loving Kratt brothers, Chris & Martin. I even like that one.

Don't get me wrong here - all of these shows are done with the utmost attention to quality, demographics, and message. The ones that I don't like incur my disdain for their message alone. It's all about empowerment, self-esteem, growing, respect for others, etc.

Those are all very good things that children need to learn. But TV shouldn't be how they're learning them. That's our job as Mommy & Daddy. Instead, TV should be fun, exposing one to mainly themes of an artistic nature such as drama. Good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, predator vs. prey. As soon we allow television to develop the character within our children, we have failed as parents.

So as my girls shrieked in excited trepidation at the predicament of the poor Road Runner ("Is the coyote going to eat him?"), something clicked inside me. TV shows should be fun, and fun alone.

Somehow I caught myself staying up late watching Three Stooges shorts on YouTube that night.

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