C is for cookie and it’s good enough for me. Many of my earliest memories were of the 5 minute skits made infamous by Sesame Street. These skits were innovative, eclectic and educational. Most of all, these skits were fun. There is nothing more intoxicating than the thunder and lightning that ensued, after watching the Count count. I still giggle when I hear the word “monomonop.” Watching Kermit’s sad soliloquy about being green was inspirational. It wasn’t easy being green for me either. I didn’t have an imaginary friend, but I knew that it was ok if I did. Sesame Street had characters that captured all of our subterranean feelings. It gave kids an imaginary framework to compartmentalize their reality. I’m not sure we even knew we were learning. By the time I was tired of Cookie Monster, Grover was doing something crazy on the screen. The show kept my interest for the entire hour, because it refused to waste even a minute. This is how you keep a juvenile mind glued to one continuous hour of reading, writing and arithmetic.
In November 1969, Sesame Street aired for the first time. Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett created Sesame Street to give all children a chance to learn and grow. They wanted to prepare kids for school. They wanted kids to better understand the world, dream and discover. They wanted their viewers to reach their highest potential. Clearly, they succeeded. They succeeded in finding a new way to teach and created a new way for kids to learn. At the time, Sesame Street was controversial. Instead of teaching a few things for a long time. The show taught many things for a shorter time. Start with math, count counting. Move on to spelling for two minutes. Then quickly to problem solving, with some funny looking muppets. This rapid change from subject to subject was how most people born after 1969 learned. Jumping from topic to topic to topic. If this was so effective, why do we do it so differently as adults. As adults we spend most of our days in meetings for hours. We spend long meetings discussing one mundane topic. We then wonder why we are so inefficient. We love meetings. Even more than that, we love meetings about our future meetings. When did we decide to change? Why do we feel that 2 hour college classes about one subject is an effective way to learn? That’s certainly not what Joan and Lloyd believe.
We were trained to rapidly go from subject to subject. Yet, our company board rooms run marathon meetings expecting the employees to learn. Our bosses are incensed when we look at our phones. They don’t realize that the blank stares they see are really eyes searching for thunder and lightning. When we get up to go to the bathroom for the third time, we are really looking for Snuffleupagus. If they really paid careful attention, they would realize that we preffered the safety of Bert, secretly wanted to be Ernie and spent most of the time being Oscar the grouch. If they thought for a moment, they would teach many things for shorter periods of time and not a few things for long periods. If they were really thinking, all they would have to do to get our attention is remember how to get to Sesame Street.