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.
Thank goodness for that curious little monkey.
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.