Friday, November 6, 2009

More Than Three Letters

PBS (Public Broadcasting Service). Three of my favorite initials. Of course, in Oregon it is called OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting). Such a great tool for learning yet used waaaay too little by most parents. Oh, wait, it is a great learning tool for all adults.

My stomach turns seeing what children are exposed to on TV. Oh, another wait: I'm upset at what I'm exposed to every day on that screen. I'm not a prude. I was the parent who took her kids to see the musical, "Chorus Line", on stage when they were little. We had fast discussions on gays, boobs and butts and a few other topics that surface in chorus line, a slice of life. I took the children because this piece of art is so well written and produced. The story is beautifully told, blunt and real. I knew my children could handle it as long as we had dialogue. I made a rule that they weren't to play the music or talk about it with other children since other kids wouldn't understand (or parents should they hear the music). All was fine until I heard them playing the sound track with a friend in attendance. Ah, another conversation.

Yet, children not yet of school age and those home on days off from school are exposed to discussion shows covering topics not suitable for children and soap operas with naked people in bed. Oh, we have come a long way, haven't we?

My kids grew up on Sesame Street. (Living with me is about like living on Sesame Street.) Yet, we didn't watch OPB. My single life gave me more TV time. I find that I craved the experiences on OPB. The classic series give me history and beautiful stories giving me a glimpse into the past. Masterpiece Theatre and the mystery shows feed my love of mystery novels. The travel shows take me to new places while the nature programs give me a deeper love and understanding of my world. I learn techniques for painting.
I hate to cook but love the cooking shows. Art Wolfe opens my eyes to photography and what we don't see. So much. So much is given to us to expand our world and to enrich our lives. Why aren't we more excited to share this with the children?

We watch OPB when the girls come to visit. Together we watch, we talk and we build our relationship. We as parents and grandparents we have at our fingertips (or at our remote) the opportunity to open worlds to our children that will not only enrich their lives but encourage them to reach out to savor new experiences as they grow up. Sometimes I think people want to be entertained instead of encouraged, blinded to reality instead of aware.

Food nurtures our bodies. OPB offers nourishment for a better me and a better world.

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