Okay, watch out! I am going to get a little political with one subject – Public Broadcasting.
The other night during the presidential debate Republican candidate, Mitt Romney said if elected president that he would cut public broadcasting from the federal budget.
At the time I was tidying up our family room and listening, that statement made me drop the books I was straightening out on the coffee table. “What?” I shouted.
I admit to being a public broadcasting nerd. I listen to the Morning Edition on National Public Radio in the morning while dressing and again in the evening while cooking dinner. I schedule twice weekly laundry chore around Diane Rehm on Friday mornings for her regular news round-up and on Saturdays during Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. I frequently repeat the political jokes made if attending a social event that evening.
Then there are the children’s shows. While some choose to allow their children shows on Nickolodean and Disney, when my children were little, they rarely watched commercial television.
If you have ever stayed home with young children for any length of time, you know the electronic babysitter can be a lifesaver for both parent and child.
I used the Children’s Television Network very prudently, but I did use it. When both my children were ages one and three, I began my freelance writing career. I did this with minimal help from babysitters. Almost every morning at 6:30, I would climb stairs to our third floor office, coffee in hand and write an article. My children would awake around 8 a.m. and on their small table in my office eat their breakfast while watching about 30 minutes of PBS kids show. It allowed me to finish up my story or write emails before spending the rest of the morning with them.
After lunch, when my daughters no longer took an afternoon nap (which was around age 2 for both of them), I would put on Sesame Street or another PBS show. I would check email or make a phone call for a story and then take a short rest on the couch nearby. I tried going without the rest one time and by 4 p.m., I was snapping at everyone. I knew the 30 minute meditation time made me a better mother.
Apparently the person who wishes to cut PBS has never had to balance work, housework and young children.
Last summer when my daughter Julia needed some time to improve her handwriting and spelling, I rewarded her each day with her favorite show – Wild Kratts. It worked. She would write spelling words from the previous school year for 30 minutes and immediately get to watch her show. It was a cheap for me and educational and fun for her.
PBS is also important in rural communities where there do not have the technology yet to bring in 100 channels. And let’s face it, most of what is on those stations is (for lack of better words) crap.
PBS takes very little from the overall federal budget. If you have ventured on that part of the radio dial or on your television, I highly encourage you to do so. For kids, you will find that they do not advertise toys, fast food places and other annoying things to make your children to want it.
And finally, it is important to note the our local station was one of the first in the country with the idea that television can educate children and adults.
Let’s keep the public in Public Broadcasting.