A Love Letter to PBS

By now we’ve all heard that Mitt Romney would cut government federal funding to PBS if he were elected President. While I admit I almost wanted to turn the channel when I heard this, I did reconsider and continued listening. The fact is, whether we re-elect President Obama or whether we elect Governor Romney next month, there will no-doubt be cuts in spending coming our way – controversial, difficult cuts that could hurt many in all sorts of foreseeable ways. This letter could be written about any one of thousands of possible beloved programs on the chopping block. But, this love letter is for my beloved PBS.

I write this letter as a parent of twin toddlers. Let me paint you a picture of our morning, as I’m guessing it’s a familiar one. Up at 7:30, I am greeted by smiles (usually) and four hands reaching up at me from cribs on opposite sides of the room (thank goodness they have not yet figured out how to climb out of them). There is often an eager “Mama, up?” and they happily tell me about their night, how they heard the “choo-choo” outside this morning, or how they want to turn the fan on and off 100 times. All is well with the world until they remember it is breakfast time. Then, in an instant, the meltdown(s) begin.

One cannot change two diapers, negotiate clothing options, gather all the blankies, Elmos, and assorted books (that we must have) and get two 20+ pound toddlers down the stairs fast enough.

And, then…one has to actually make breakfast. Meanwhile, my sweet little cherubs have turned into ravenous beasts who cannot wait one more second for their milk, bananas, and “wa-kuls.” My house sounds about like a lion’s den, until…click.

George.

Thank goodness for that curious little monkey.

Silence.

Two pacified brothers sitting side-by-side, blankies and Elmos in arms (one thumb in mouth), watching George on his latest adventure.

Milk poured. Bananas sliced. Waffles toasted.

Could I manage to make breakfast each day without PBS? Sure. I could probably turn on any number of cartoons and get a similar result. However, when I turn on PBS, I breathe a double sigh of relief – one for the cherished moment of peace in an always hectic morning and a second for the peace I feel knowing they are not just staring aimlessly at the screen, but that they are learning and spending quality time with their dear friends.

Really, isn’t Elmo every child’s first BFF?

I could rattle off a list of achievements my children have reached with PBS. I could tell you how the first time “Big Brother” said his own name, it was when he proudly shouted it out to Super Why. I could tell you how “Little Brother” started singing “go-go-go” (on an adventure) before he could walk. (He was a late walker and an early talker, but still don’t tell my pediatrician as we obviously broke/break the no TV before 2 rule at our house). I could tell you how our favorite books are any and all with Elmo, Big Bird, George, Clifford or Arthur gracing the pages. I could tell you how one of my favorite parts of our morning is when “Big Brother” hops off the couch to do his morning exercise with Coach Hooper. Or, I could tell you how I get seriously sentimental when Daniel Tiger puts on that nostalgic red sweater.

But, instead, I’ll simply say that I know my kids are growing and learning with PBS. Not only that, but I believe that these programs are helping to foster a real love of learning in my children, just as they did in me when I was a child. (My kids are giddy about a Super Hero whose most awesome power is the ability to “look in a book” and read…how fantastic is that?)

So, while I know there are countless good and important programs that may find themselves losing precious funding, I will offer my voice in support of keeping that 0.012% of the federal budgetfor our children’s first friends, for our own fond memories, for the love of learning, for early education, and for PBS.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09851087134534569723 Heather

    I love this post! Thanks for sharing :) If funding were cut to PBS, we would certainly mourn it in our home as well. I think PBS is a great proponent of early education in young children and I certainly support the curiosity and imagination it has fostered in my daughter :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07053631539385467993 Rachel

    I’m with you! I would be really sad for this great program to lose funding. George and Elmo are much beloved in our house!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06906946058388625128 Blessed Mommy

    Just came across your blog. I have twin boys also. You have a beautiful blog and adorable boys. Enjoying going through your seasonal link up for halloween. Many blessings.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14705318545129098705 Ashlee @ Laugh with Ash

    My son is an elmo fanatic too! I agree that I’m a little at peace knowing that he’s learning something while watching Tv.. it makes me feel a little less guilty when I hear him counting (even if it’s only to 3) or repeating elmo’s abc’s!

    I’m a new follower from the Monday’s Musing hop! I’d love for you to visit me @ http://www.laughwithash.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18284578254806587804 Cheerios and Lattes

    Thank you for posting on Saturday Show and Tell! I hope you’ll be back this week with more!
    -Mackenzie
    http://www.cheeriosandlattes.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08977698285925482731 Holli

    Just wanted to add a few quick info-graphics from PBS:

    http://valuepbs.org/education.php

    http://valuepbs.org/kids-and-parents.php

    For about $1.50 per person, we get a lot of bang for our buck. Not sure how we could better spend such a small amount and get a greater return on education.

    Feel free to share the links!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09988158250488221291 Jelli

    I completely value PBS too. As a kid, my mom would explain time to me using Sesame Street as the time frame. For example, during a car trip, I’d ask the typical “how long until we get there?” which was often followed by “two Sesame Streets.” Hehe. Glad Elmo can help make your mornings a little less hectic. Thanks for linking up with me this week. Your family is snugglicious.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00725139515731489469 Sea Mama

    I’m right there with you. Sesame Street was my staple as a child. And with so much junk on tv (for lack of stronger words), Sesame Street is one of the last great teaching programming available. I love that the spirit of Jim Henson is still alive and I would be heart broken if it was cancelled. Thanks for this great post!
    -Jess @ My Child Centered Life

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18069545242441219178 S

    Here here! My children don’t know any children’s programming that is not from PBS, and I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Before she was 2-1/2, my daughter could look at me and sing to me the colors of the rainbow (pure ROYGBIV style) thanks to Sid the Science Kid, she learned her letters because of Super Why, and she hugs often and willingly thanks to Barney (I’m not a huge fan, but hey, if I get hugs because of it, bring on the dino!). For her birthday, she wanted a prism and a magnifying glass. (She truly is a science kid.) The curiosity for learning is strong in PBS-viewing children.

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