Who doesn’t love Sesame Street? I mean it doesn’t get much better than Elmo, Oscar The Grouch and Big Bird now does it? Nor would they be celebrating 50 magical years on air next month if it wasn’t one of the most beloved neighborhoods for kids of all ages!
Throughout the last 50 years Sesame Street has embraced a myriad of groundbreaking storylines on their show with open arms. Each and every year they continue to tackle topics that reflect their diverse audience with only one goal in mind; education and inclusion.
These topics have ranged from racism, adoption, autism, down syndrome, divorce, being in a wheelchair, 9/11, death, a family member being incarcerated; the list is truly endless and for each topic they tackle, millions of children and their families are sitting in their living rooms, watching and feeling less alone in their own relatable struggle.
And now this week Sesame Street has done it once again by adding to their list of inclusive storylines when they recently introduced a new character by the name of Karli who begins to open up to her friends in the neighborhood about her mom’s addiction and mental health crisis. She tells her friends that her mom had to go away for treatment and that she is now in recovery and that a big part of her recovery is attending meetings every single day with people who have the same problem as her in order to help her stay healthy while being surrounded by people who understand what she is going through and learning how to take better care of herself.
The message Karli receives from her mom and her friends is one of hope and healing and it really resonated with me, bringing tears to my eyes (not that it takes much to make me cry). The message Karli receives is the same message that “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” aims to teach children which is that Mommy’s disease is not their fault, that they are not alone and that they are safe and loved.
It is also relating another very important message to their audience which is that it is never too early to start having these conversations with children because the more we open up and have honest conversations the sooner our children will understand that they are not at fault, that they are not alone and most of all that they are safe and loved. And lets not forget that the more education and inclusion we project upon young children today, the sooner we help to end the stigma around mental illness for future generations to come!
Watching Karli made me want to reach out and hug her so tight and then curl up next to her while reading “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” together. Just one quick question though before I go; “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”
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