As I scrubbed the top of the kitchen counter, I could tell that my twenty minuets of clean time were almost up. Keeping my word, the younger one was allowed to watch only till the end of his little show, and judging from the music, my well-trained parental ears recognized another dramatic conclusion.
As I went over and started to make a myriad of suggestions as to what he could start to play with in his room, I was caught off guard by a montage of children his age and younger playing freely and reading on T.V. There was a host of parent testimony played over top of it, singing the education praises of this particular channel; how it helped their son become interested in counting, or their daughter shouting a word in Spanish.
Then, (and this is the God’s honest truth) a very enthusiastic woman’s voice said (in a clearly overly-directed tag-line):
“…It’s like pre-school…on T.V!”
Firstly, let me state for the record, I love T.V. I have no problem letting my two young children watch it in moderation. We have rules that can bend. We limit T.V through out the week and allow a little more for the weekend.
I can remember watching T.V obsessively as a child. Firstly, because I was the youngest of five, and secondly, (I’m sure) because I have lots of tantrums about it. It was back in the beginnings of the cable age, and there were one or two channels for kids, plus a bevy of Saturday morning cartoons, and after school programming.
I too was allowed TV with some limitations, and rarely was allowed (as a young child) to watch enough to turn me into a drooling mess, though many would argue I was that going into things anyhow.
As parents, my wife and I are also tuned into what would be appropriate for them. We don’t let them watch cop dramas, or adult cartoons because of the violence, or the GOP race coverage because of the foul language (i.e.: Rick Santorum).
But to label something as “Preschool on TV?”
Here I am married to a Pre K teacher who is apparently working WAY too hard! Just this morning, she woke up and was in the classroom by 7:15, setting up a farm on a huge piece of sod, when she could have simply cued up Blue’s Clues.
Oh! The weekends I have seen her waste her family time! Not just her mind you, but the entire hall of classroom teachers busily setting up live insect tanks, freezing balloons of paint, making goop and gak in tubs, or cleaning up any number of clay projects, collage, flower pressing, color mixing and the like!
They could have simply and easily spliced one line of cable TV into those classrooms and gone to get their nails done.
Full set even.
This has made me wonder if I too could benefit from the new prestige of the powers of TV. I have watched many of Ken Burn’s movies, what’s the minimum for a Masters in history?
If I made it through the first 4 seasons of House, do I have to get a residency, or can I set up a private practice right away?
I caught 15 minuets of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, does that mean I am immune to the stomach flu going around?
Seriously though, let me address this directly to you TV, and TV marketing people:
Firstly, thanks for at least limiting the commercials on a couple channels, it was getting too hard to go to the store for mixers without spending an hour having to look at the toys.
But, really? Come on! Pre-School? Let’s be super honest, there are some educational values in some of these programs, ok, I can concede that. But you still have a book series, toy series and computer game series available for purchase, right?
Why not just call a spade a spade and stop trying to convince me otherwise. Here are a couple options for you (and there even free):
“(Insert network name)…Giving you enough time to clean around the base of the toilet.”
“(Insert network name)…because letting your kids see you have that first one at 11:30 makes you feel bad about having one at 11:30.”
“(Insert network name)…because if you and your partner try to wait to make love till their asleep, you’ll both fall asleep as soon as they do.”
I’ll even do the excited voice over.