We’ve all had bad days, but we don’t always have the best advice, nor the best perspectives from our entertainment. If we followed most pop entertainment advice, we'd all become blood-thirsty mad queens who enact merciless revenge by fire. When we need a more balanced viewpoint, "Sesame Street" is there.
The long-running puppet show has always been a source of family fun but earns its loyalty by being the on-screen laboratory for pre-k to parenthood existentialism. Between counting and the alphabet, "Sesame Street" has been a steady source of wisdom, psychosocial skills building, and community ethics education. At its best, "Sesame Street" has been a warm counselor to guide you through tough times. Here we’ve laid out when "Sesame Street" has been the therapy we’ve all needed, cross-referenced with the most common reasons people attend therapy.
Humans are such social creatures that isolation is a punishment for crime in many countries. Relationships are inevitable: so better to get good at them, right? "Sesame Street," thought so, and so has created hundreds of hours of content around how we can navigate relationships with kindness, compassion, and respect. Here are a few of our favorites:
Making New Friends
Being alone in a crowd is never fun, and making friends can be terrifying or exhausting for many of us. Here’s a heartwarming tale of a new friendship that started with curiosity and compassion, all packaged in a classically dramatic Sesame Street jingle.
Being a Good Friend
Who better to take tips on friendship than the citizens of carefree Sesame Street? And who better to make it fun than the timelessly lovable Elmo, joined by his bubbly buddy Rosita? If you want to be a good friend, it doesn’t get much simpler or better than this.
Dealing with Loneliness
Sometimes it’s hard to find a friend, and that’s when loneliness hits. This next video has a great way of reminding us when and where to find love, and why we’re looking for it in the first place.
Grief, Goodbyes, and Transitions
Letting someone go is a process and a skill that doesn’t seem to get easier, no matter how many times you experience it. And there aren’t too many places that teach us how to do it right. "Sesame Street" had a way of showing us how healthy endings occur, from friends moving away, to the first days of school, and even grieving.
When we step into new spaces, we sometimes have to leave things or people behind. That transition can be scary no matter where it takes place, and this video helped us all realize that transitions and goodbyes are a normal part of life.
Dealing with Grief
In an uncommonly bold move for a children’s show, "Sesame Street" opened a powerful path to healing by creating an episode around grief. The episode "Farewell, Mr. Hooper" centered on the death of Mr. Hooper, Sesame Street's curmudgeonly neighborhood grocer who befriended Big Bird. AV Club noted that the episode "defined what Sesame Street was for most kids: using everyday moments—be they silly or sad—as teachable ones, without being patronizing about the subject matter." With powerful performances from everyone on screen, including Big Bird, this clip goes down in history as one of television’s best teaching moments around grief.
Tragedy and Sudden Loss
Unfortunately, news about tragedies like shootings and attacks seem increasingly more commonplace. While we all dread that phone call that something isn’t okay, we especially dread the thought of going through those moments alone. "Sesame Street" earns its reputation with honorable moments like these.
Learning through Tragedy
When the whole nation was grieving the losses incurred by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, "Sesame Street" covered the topic in its characteristically heartwarming way by introducing us to the life of a fireman, and by comforting a frightened Elmo.
Dealing with Trauma
One of the best parts of Sesame Street is the way they adapt programming with updated research. This video, taken from some of the more recent "Sesame Street" tapings, gives the audience a chance to compassionately and openly address the effects of trauma on children.
Tools for When You’re Triggered
Anger and anxiety can pop up unexpectedly, and when left to their own devices, they can ruin moments, relationships, and even opportunities. Here’s a lesson from some unlikely teachers on a simple way to step back and settle down when it matters most.
Not all therapy is about healing or recovery—many people choose therapy as a tool for self-actualization. "Sesame Street" knows this and created these great video tools for teaching kids to reach for their highest potential.
Many adults still invest a lot of time, money, and attention to instilling belief in themselves. And here comes "Sesame Street", wrapping the lesson into a song, performed by Diana Ross, no less! To be so lucky—we didn’t know what we were witnessing, but here’s your second chance.
It’s not just a hot topic in the wellness community: self-love is a powerful mental health subject and the source for various other health and wellness issues. This video featuring Segi the Muppet has been shared over 300,000 times because of its special story,
And if you’re ready for a tale that could melt the coldest heart, check out the video’s back story.
We could all use a little more self-control. From emotions to impulse control, self-regulation is a valuable skill throughout your life, regardless of your profession or lifestyle. In this video from the more recent "Sesame Street" archive, we watch Cookie Monster learn some great lessons on the value of self-regulation.
Entertainment is everywhere, but wisdom is rare. It’s time we make "Sesame Street" America’s therapist again, starting with these great lessons. Make a friend, be a friend, and share with a friend!
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