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Lessons From Our Youth: Key Elements From PBS Shows We Can Apply As Adults

By Diane Cervantes

The shows that we watched as children influenced many of us growing up, but as we get older it’s likely that the details and lessons found in these shows have been forgotten or overlooked. I definitely don’t think that as we grow out of our childhood we should grow out of the valuable lessons that are embedded at the core of most children’s programing.

Arthur –  Who would’ve thought that the glasses-wearing Arthur would become the source of some of the greatest and most memorable memes out there? Arthur is one of my favorite shows and there are a lot of gems in this one that we might appreciate even as adults. Those of us that watched the show might remember that there were instances where some characters didn’t always get along, (D.W. had all the clapbacks) but they would eventually resolve their issues. It was a relatable depiction of our different attitudes and behaviors, for children and adults alike. Everything wasn’t perfect in this fictional world, but Arthur showed possible real-life situations and offered solutions and different approaches to sometimes inevitable circumstances. Even the theme song (which I’m sure many of you still know the words to) didn’t really click until I read what it said (visual learner over here). Deep yet uncomplicated, I was like “Dang, these are some really good positive lyrics. It really IS a simple message that comes from the heart!” *Crying emoji* 


Sesame StreetSesame street is arguably the most influential of the list, being that it is the longest running and because of its distinct format of educating children through entertainment. Sesame Street not only included academics within the show, but it also consisted of comedy and teaching morals, life lessons, inclusivity and diversity. Although we are more familiar with many of the show’s muppet characters and their traits, they really played an integral role in making learning fun. You’re never too old to learn and it’s never too late to brush up on the timeless wisdom Sesame Street has to offer.


Dragon Tales –  The premise of this show focuses on Emmy and Max, siblings who travel to Dragon Land and visit their dragon friends, Cassie, Ord and two-headed Zak and Wheezie. The lessons learned throughout this series center around cooperation and learning from mistakes. In the episode “Sad Little Star” the characters want to help a star who came down in search of a rainbow. They realize that the road to see a rainbow isn’t going to be easy. They work together towards a solution and use their resources to get their desired goal. A reminder that we all can depend on each other and rise together. Another moral to this particular episode is that you never know how greatly your efforts can affect others.  


Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood – Our all-time favorite neighbor is a legend in his own right and is perhaps the main reason we have PBS children shows to this day. During Nixon’s presidency, Mr.Rogers appeared before the U.S Senate to plead his case to keep funding for PBS, by explaining how the show provided children with benevolent content as opposed to the violence found in other cartoons at the time. He testified by saying, “I give an expression of care every day to each child, to help him realize that he is unique. If we in public television can make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health.” This secured the network and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood ran through 1968-2001. Fred Rogers was a kind genuine man who ended each of his episodes with a reminder that we are unique and special in our own way.

“You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you, just the way you are.”

Rogers’ believed in the importance of showing kids their value, and acknowledging children’s feelings rather than dismissing them.



It’s easy to remember the lessons that we were taught in these shows, but the challenge is actually implementing these teachings into our adult lives. I think that it is important to nourish our inner child, and as corny as it may seem, especially as we have grown, treat ourselves and others with kindness and respect. 


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