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Character Counts

By Ellen Mongan

Sesame Street is celebrating fifty years of broadcasting.  For five decades they have been invited into homes around the country to educate young and old alike. You never know who you will meet on Sesame Street or what life lessons you will take away?

Sesame Street was always a welcoming part of my everyday life while raising my seven children. As we watched the show together we grew together. I used the show’s topic each day as a springboard for teaching character to my children.

At the end of each broadcast, having a catchy tune playing in my head was commonplace for me. I would usually hum along. The words are still quite familiar to this day. Whenever I hear the words, “Sunny days, chasing the clouds away,” a smile automatically appears on my face.

In my childrearing days, I would hear my children singing out loud the words to songs sung that day on the show. Now I hear my grandchildren doing the same.

Sesame Street uses some unusual characters to teach character. Each brings a different lesson to the airwaves.  Oscar, of course, shows us all the reason to choose kindness over being a Grouch. Ernie and Bert demonstrate, through their actions, how to have a friend. To have a friend you must be a friend. Sharing, caring, and love are the attitudes of the heart one must cultivate to keep a friend. Then there is Big Bird, a character bigger than life. He walks into each home to teach us all that it is alright to be different. Big Bird is the poster child for feeling comfortable in his own skin.

There are so many more characters I can mention, but I won’t. Instead, I encourage you to tune in and see for yourself. The life lessons that came over the airwaves on Sesame Street when my children were little are still being taught today.

After five decades, although it has changed some, one can still learn while viewing the show how to grow in character, how to be a friend and to always take the time to be kind. After all, no one wants to be a grouch face. Remember Character Counts!

I hope this video of my son Tyler and I singing, brings you a sunny day and chases your blues away!

Editor’s note: Composed by Joe Raposo, “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?” is the theme song of the children’s television series Sesame Street. It is the oldest song in Sesame Street’s history, dating back to the show’s very beginning on November 10, 1969.

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