I believe in embracing children’s programming. It dawned on me as I flipped through the channels for the umpteenth time, just to find a large boat of violence and drama. There was nothing that interested me anymore. It was all the same reflections of lives that could have been and scenarios that I knew I couldn’t experience. As intriguing as these vast imaginations and tragic realities were I knew that just sitting there and watching them would waste away what life I had to live, but what could I do with that life? Stuck in a rut of my own monotonous life, I changed the channel and found something surprisingly different. This program didn’t emphasize any of the extreme thrills or drama portrayed by the shows before it. This program didn’t portray anything in a way that made a fulfilling life seem almost impossible outside of the world beyond the screen. This program did encourage the viewer to use his or her imagination, but when the proposed scenario was completed, it didn’t feel too far from what I could actually do! Gone was the intense complexity of a puzzling plotline that would take a season’s worth of episodes to solve and in its place was the simple joy of going through everyday life. The everyday life of a fireman, police officer, or even a school teacher seemed so fulfilling through the eyes of my inner child. Instead of walking away with a sorry lament of my own limitations, the program inspired me enough to walk away with a profound vision of my lack of limitations. Instead of walking away wishing to be someone else, I was able to walk away wishing to become myself. Instead of walking away full of regret of the past, I walked away that day with hope for the future. I was encouraged not only to dream and to fantasize about the ridiculously unattainable, but to open my eyes and realize the number of prospects that are readily available. Not just to wish, but to hope. Here at the crossroads of my life, with high school behind, and college and a career ahead of me, it took a program intended for a child to realize what so many adults my age seem to completely miss. My own adventure is not anyone else’s. Only by looking at my own future instead of the future of others can I ever become my best self.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.