Sesame Street does it again with brilliance! Big Bird is invited to join the “Good Birds Club” and is very excited. However, a pigeon with an attitude (who controls entry to the ”club” ) first tells him he cannot join because his feet are too big. Two other member birds initially want to let Big Bird in, but the pigeon’s bullying forces them to join in with excluding and mocking Big Bird’s “differences.” After the fairy magically shrinks him down, Big Bird tries again. Now, he is “too yellow” for the pigeon’s liking. Ultimately, Sesame Street’s friends come to the rescue and start a “Happy to Be Me Club” which everyone joins but pigeon.
Sesame Street shines again, getting it all “right”: We love the positive, self-esteem affirming messages for children (be who you are, appreciate and celebrate the differences in others, focus on the importance and “fun” of relationships, etc.), the entry-level social skills (seek out a mature adult when you have a problem, support your friends rather than merely “witnessing” or “laughing along” with the bullying, etc.).
On the restorative side, while at the end of this scenario the pigeon chose the option of ”I don’t need any of you” and flew off, we were impressed with the demonstrated collaborative ”attempts” to reach a more restorative solution: the Sesame Street trusted adult gave his “thoughts” in front of all participants, a new “inclusive” group (“Happy to Be Me”) was formed, and Big Bird, the victim, turned and invited everyone, including the bully, to join the new group.
We really like the “complete package” that Sesame Street presents, with great tools for parents to start conversations and to encourage “practice and play” via age appropriate talking points. For more information, there is a link to “Stop Bullying Now,” the excellent website sponsored by the White House and various government agencies. See also our blog on Stop Bullying Now.
One more tidbit: you have to love Sesame Street’s humor — after excluding Big Bird from the Good Birds Club, the bully pigeon and the other two ”poultry” members take a moment to “tweet” about it (a veiled reference to cyberbullying?). Great script writing!