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A Love Letter to PBS

A simple voice of support for PBS and all that it does for our children and ourselves. (For how else would we get breakfast on the table?)

By now we’ve all heard that Mitt Romney would cut government federal funding to PBS if he were elected president. While I admit I almost wanted to turn the channel when I heard this, I did reconsider and continued listening. The fact is, whether we re-elect President Obama or whether we elect Gov. Romney next month, there will no-doubt be cuts in spending coming our way – controversial, difficult cuts that could hurt many in all sorts of foreseeable ways. This letter could be written about any one of thousands of possible beloved programs on the chopping block.  But, this love letter is for my beloved PBS. 

I write this letter as a parent of twin toddlers. Let me paint you a picture of our morning, as I’m guessing it’s a familiar one. Up at 7:30, I am greeted by smiles (usually) and four hands reaching up at me from cribs on opposite sides of the room (thank goodness they have not yet figured out how to climb out of them). There is often an eager “Mama, up?” and they happily tell me about their night, how they heard the “choo-choo” outside this morning, or how they want to turn the fan on and off 100 times. All is well with the world until they remember it is breakfast time. Then, in an instant, the meltdown(s) begin. 

One cannot change two diapers, negotiate clothing options, gather all the blankies, Elmos, and assorted books (that we must have) and get two 20+ pound toddlers down the stairs fast enough.

And, then…one has to actually make breakfast. Meanwhile, my sweet little cherubs have turned into ravenous beasts who cannot wait one more second for their milk, bananas, and "wa-kuls." My house sounds about like a lion’s den, until…click.

George.

Thank goodness for that curious little monkey.

Silence. 

Two pacified brothers sitting side-by-side, blankies and Elmos in arms (one thumb in mouth), watching George on his latest adventure. 

Milk poured. Bananas sliced.Waffles toasted.

Could I manage to make breakfast each day without PBS? Sure. I could probably turn on any number of cartoons and get a similar result. However, when I turn on PBS, I breathe a double sigh of relief – one for the cherished moment of peace in an always hectic morning and a second for the peace I feel knowing they are not just staring aimlessly at the screen, but that they are learning and spending quality time with their dear friends.

Really, isn’t Elmo every child’s first BFF?

I could rattle off a list of achievements my children have reached with PBS. I could tell you how the first time “Big Brother” said his own name, it was when he proudly shouted it out to Super Why. I could tell you how “Little Brother” started singing “go-go-go” (on an adventure) before he could walk. (He was a late walker and an early talker, but still don’t tell my pediatrician as we obviously broke/break the no TV before 2 rule at our house). I could tell you how our favorite books are any and all with Elmo, Big Bird, George, Clifford or Arthur gracing the pages. I could tell you how one of my favorite parts of our morning is when “Big Brother” hops off the couch to do his morning exercise with Coach Hooper. Or, I could tell you how I get seriously sentimental when Daniel Tiger puts on that nostalgic red sweater.

But, instead, I’ll simply say that I know my kids are growing and learning with PBS.  Not only that, but I believe that these programs are helping to foster a real love of learning in my children, just as they did in me when I was a child. (My kids are giddy about a Super Hero whose most awesome power is the ability to “look in a book” and read…how fantastic is that?) 

So, while I know there are countless good and important programs that may find themselves losing precious funding, I will offer my voice in support of keeping that 0.012% of the federal budget  for our children’s first friends, for our own fond memories, for the love of learning, for early education, and for PBS. 

-Holli is a full-time stay-at-home mom and a part-time tutor.  In her spare time (aka, nap time) she blogs about family and life with twin toddlers at Full Hands, Full Hearts.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Earnan Drummann October 13, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Again Christine, nice work.
Holli Long October 14, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Hi Earnan. I completely agree with you that, in the hierarchy of needs, food, immunizations, and diapers come first. However, I feel that education is not too far behind on that list of priorities. Again, my point in the article was just to highlight the fact that I the federal money given to PBS goes to a worthy program, not to say that others aren't equally worthy. (My above comments in this thread also speak to the quality of PBS in terms of its value to early childhood education.) A civil debate of the politics of the topic is always welcome...
Earnan Drummann October 16, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Holli, I know you you mean well and I do, too. Politics, schmolitics. With all intended civilty and respect, my vote is to have PBS users pay for PBS, it's for the wealthy. You and I are from different generations. I promise you that if your television was shut off one day you could throw a shoe-box on the floor and your kids would have more fun playing with that than they would watching a television. Give it a try sometime. If you are wealthy enough to own a computer and have an internet connection, then Big Bird is FREE and you don't need PBS. PBS isn't for the poor. PBS is for the affluent. Poor people cant afford computers and cable TV. Have you ever been so poor that you couldn't afford television? I HAVE. What good did PBS do me then? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTvhKZHAP8U
Holli Long October 16, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Again, Earnan, I agree with you. While we may be from different generations, I also know the value of a good old cardboard box. Making drums out of pots and pans is another favorite.
Earnan Drummann October 17, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Holli, thank you. I just get all riled up when I see the salaries of the executives at PBS, and the taxpayer money that goes to PBS, when we have so many local children that could benefit from that money. In Morris, IL--if the Charity "We Care" had even 0.012% of the PBS budget, they could feed 72 families for a month (leave the math alone; you got my point lol.) I'm not undermining PBS because it's maybe a progressive favorite. I'm undermining PBS because they outlived their impact. Whether one is an advocate for the needy or an advocate for the environment, don't forget Education 101: think globally, act locally.

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