My wife and I were just talking about the definition of "family" the other day. Our daughter is terrible in the car, but we recently discovered how wonderful videos on the iPhone can be in desperate times of need. (Don't judge!) And for her, Elmo seems to do the trick.
From my spot in the front seat, I soon memorized the script of an episode about families—and quickly grew to dislike it. In the episode, Elmo describes “family" as a mommy, a daddy and a baby. That's it: The only other family he describes on there is a mommy, daddy, a baby and a granddaddy.
I wonder how teaching the definition of a family like this is going to even help children. Many families are not as Elmo described.
We have families without a mom or dad. We have families where children live with grandparents, aunts or uncles, cousins, etc. Then there are families like ours where a child had two moms or two dads.
The world has grown to be much more inclusive, however we still have a long way to go. I wouldn't think that something as trivial as an episode of Elmo's World could really affect the way I feel—however, small things like this show that there are areas, especially in the media, that aren't representative of different lifestyles, cultures and families.
I have seen more adult TV shows where gay families are represented, but what about children shows? Our kids will be exposed to media whether we want them to or not.
Shouldn't we represent all types of families when we show children families on TV, story books, games, etc?
We have found a few books we like that represent families like ours, but they are usually only found through special searches online. I hope one day more families are represented so kids realize that there isn't just one way to make a family.
For me, this is the bottom line: If we open our minds and our hearts, the world will be a better place.
There is no set definition of a family being a mom, dad and children. Love makes a family and love can look very different. Sometimes a family is showing love from one person to another and it doesn't matter how many members are in the family.
We believe that as long as a family cares about one another, that's all that matters.