Since Kent showed me Sesame Street Unpaved, and I learned the thought that went into creating and writing for Sesame Street, I’ve been an even bigger fan of a favourite childhood show.
Did you know that the main muppets are each there to represent a specific developmental age and stage, and their scripts are written to be consistent with how a, say, 2.5-year-old speaks and how she sees the world?
Not content with working hard on making reading, writing and cooperation fun, Sesame Street also has emotional literacy on its radar.
One of the new favourites in our house is ‘David!’ as Dave Matthews is known to SBJ. In this wonderful scene, he and Grover are trying to figure out how they’re feeling. They sing a song to put words to the feelings, each of which is ‘not a very good feeling, David.’
Three things I love about this video.
1. The reason for Grover’s not-very-good feeling is a beautiful example of pre-schoolers’ logic and the reality of their frustrations:
I made a wish
With all of my heart
To take a rocket ship
Up to the moon.
Well, I’m SAD and I’m MAD
And I don’t have a rocket
Because the wish that I wished
Did not come true.
2. Dave’s feelings are a poignant and realistic mix of good and not-very-good:
I have a friend with a cape
Who can fly through the sky
And I’m jealous
‘Cause I wanna fly too.
Well, I’m proud that I know him
And I’m happy he’s my friend
But I wanna be a superhero too.
3. While it’s true that sharing and naming their feelings helps Grover and Dave to feel better, the bridge of the song, my favourite bit (today at least), is careful not to suggest that there’s any easy path to reliable happiness, or that not-very-good feelings can be avoided:
Nobody wants to be angry, I know
Nobody wants to be sad
But I can’t always help
The way that I’m feeling
I won’t always be happy
Take a look, and share it around your friends, adult and child, to join the crusade for emotional literacy.