Target: Dr. Lewis Bernstein, Executive Producer of Sesame Street
Goal: Thank Sesame Street for making a difficult subject like divorce easy for children to understand
Sesame Street is dealing with the delicate issue of divorce for the first time ever. In a 13-minute long segment that will be available online, the characters explain that divorce does not have to be scary. A pink fairy by the name of Abby Cadabby, whose parents have been divorced for a long time, draws pictures of the two houses that she lives in. The drawings show one house where she lives with her mom and the other with her dad.
Almost 20 years ago, Sesame Street first attempted to broach the topic of divorce. In the original segment, an elephant named Snuffy told Big Bird that his dad was moving out. It showed Snuffy being angry and sad. When the test pre-school audience viewed the scene they became upset as well, unsure of where Snuffy would live and afraid their parents would divorce and not love them anymore.
Employees at Sesame Street spent the next couple of decades researching and brainstorming ways to bring up divorce without the same disastrous results. What they came up with was the story of Abby Cadabby. Sesame Street showed that Abby was still a happy child with two loving parents.
By choosing to show this divorce episode online, it also provides parents with a choice of when to explain divorce to their child; they can decide when their child is ready. With a 50% divorce rate in America, nearly all children will be exposed to it at some point, whether it is their own parents, their friend’s parents or someone in their class.
Their years of research, dedication, and determination have respectfully explained what divorce is and developed an alternate tool for parents to use while explaining divorce to children. Sesame Street has a long history of teaching children about sensitive issues including death, adoption, race, etc. Sign the petition to thank Sesame Street for educating children, even on the tough subjects.
Dear Dr. Bernstein,
Sesame Street’s recent coverage on the topic of divorce was very tasteful. Choosing a character, Abby Cadabby, whose parents had already been through a divorce was helpful in showing children of divorce that they are still loved.
Abby draws pictures of both of the houses that she gets to live in, leading the other characters in explaining why. Having an adult, Gordon, explain that divorce means that Abby’s mommy and daddy aren’t married anymore, simplifies the subject even further, allowing children to grasp the concept.
Your decision to air this segment online was also a commendable action. This allows parents to choose when they think their child is ready to learn about the topic of divorce. Your years of dedicated research to determine the exact right way to explain difficult and complex subject matter to children is accommodating to both parents and children. Thank you for your years of providing an educational outlet for children to understand and question complicated subjects.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: The USO via Flickr