The Generation of Simmons’ Slimmin’s
March 4, 2009
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We all know of him: the googly-eyed monster that eats everything from danishes, donuts, apples, and bananas, to pepper shakers, typewriters, motorcycles, and Peabody Awards. His favorite food, however, is a chocolate chip cookie. Or two.
When the show premiered on November 10, 1969, Sesame Street became an immediate hit for children all over the world. Although the first puppet-style muppets to appear on the screen were the infamous Ernie and Bert, Cookie Monster-the monster who was eating the world as aforementioned-first appeared on the show in the 1970s and became an instant friend to everybody who watched him. Because of the connection that creator Jim Henson had with his audience, I applaud him for enriching, educating, and entertaining both children and adults all over the world.
Perhaps best known for his famous eating phrases: “Met want cookie!,” “Me eat cookie!,” and my personal favorite “Om nom nom nom,” Cookie Monster obviously has a love for food-both edible and inedible.
However, it is unfortunate that the current generation and their Richard Simmons-watching parents have made both a positive and a negative effect on the Sesame Street audience. In response to growing concerns of childhood obesity being on the rise throughout America, Sesame Street began airing segments in 2006 entitled “Healthy Habits for Life.” Okay, there is a good thing that has occurred due to the “Weight Loss Is the Most Important Thing About My Child” parents in America.
In fact, a year later in an entertaining appearance by Cookie Monster on Martha Stewart’s television program, he claimed that cookies are, in fact, only a “sometime food.”
These are both good examples of how a television show can, in fact, promote healthy living without changing their prerogative of entertainment first. But what would a bad example be?
Let’s say that the creators and writers over at Sesame Street decided they did not want to start their “Healthy Habits for Life” segments. There would be that group of parents complaining that Cookie Monster is the reason that their six-year-old child weighs 200 pounds.
Fact of the matter is that your child is fat because you’re a bad parent. Whoops, was that too harsh? Good.
Take them to Chuck-E-Cheese and let them have some pizza. Do they need dessert and 20 ounces of soda, though? No. So stop giving it to them and wondering why Cookie Monster got them to gain 150 extra pounds even though you’re the irresponsible one.
It’s not just food, either. While getting some car work done last week, I saw a boy who couldn’t have been much older than five texting on his very own cell phone. While in New York City this past weekend, I saw a 10-year-old with a Blackberry. Do your kids really need that at such a young age? Do they really need to be eating so much at once? Or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, do they really need to be denied dessert one day a week because they’ll “get in a bad habit?”
Sometimes, I wonder if it’s a seven-year-old who needs to grow up or their 37-year-old parent.