Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The True Lesson of Sesame Street

With all due respect to Robert Fulghum's heartwarming book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (some might go as far as to call it "literature of ipecac"), I think we need a companion book, All I Need to Know I Learned on Sesame Street.

For example:

  • The world is a diversity of races, ethnicities, colors, and felt patterns.

  • Impulse control, particularly with respect to cookies, is overrated.

  • Math is fun, particularly if it is punctuated with lightning.

  • Corporate sponsorship is ubiquitous ("This episode was brought to you by the letter 'R', and the number '12.'")

However, I think two of the most important lessons are:
  • Know the people in your neighborhood.

  • Surround your personal experience with people from many ethnicities, socio-economic statuses, and ESPECIALLY professions.
This second point is most crucial. Too often, we are constrained by our own professions and social groups. We are afraid to make friends outside our comfort zones. It is vitally important that we extend ourselves. Our social networks should include business people, medical professionals, lawyers, taxi drivers, police, firefighters, teachers, computer programmers, and artists. How else can we gain a balanced perspective of the world? How else can we teach our children about infinite diversity?

How else can we barter favors or seek free advice?

Let me put it this way...if I know that if I have a legal problem, medical problem, security problem, or computer problem, I have people I can contact who will point me in the right direction, even if they can't directly help me.

That is the true lesson of Sesame Street.

1 comment:

  1. I should add that Peter, Paul, and Mary's song "Don't Let the Light Go Out" is one of my favorite Chanukah songs. It's catchy, political, original, and it doesn't (to me) violate any of the 4 rules. Watch them sing it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yZ1zxtbOJE&feature=PlayList&p=A930BD778280800C&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=10.