“I’d like to go to Russia!”
Ethan, aged 7, shouted the declaration from the family room where he was watching TV. I would later discover it was in answer to a question I’d asked days earlier.
“Where do you guys want to go on our trip around the world?”
I’d expected an answer eventually, but “Russia” both impressed and surprised me. I left my post in the kitchen to delve deeper and came face to face with St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow in high definition on the TV in front of him.
Now I’m amazed.
My clearly genius child is watching a documentary of some sort. We need to alert the school boards. We need to call the press.
Turns out that won’t be necessary.
He’s watching “Are we there yet?” It’s a Canadian kids show that follows a pair of siblings as they travel the world asking the questions kids ask and doing the things kids like to do .
And my son is eating it up.
I’ve never been an anti-TV parent. While I recognize that too much and the wrong stuff could pose problems down the road, shows like this one have helped to created an interest in travel in my kids and made it cool to boot.
When I was growing up there was only the choice of running off to Sesame Street or joining the Electric Company. These days the kids can check out real people doing cool things in neighbourhoods just like theirs with shows like This is Daniel Cook (“Here we go!) and Emily Yeung.
Or they can get a peek into what life is like in places much further away (Global Grover on Sesame Street is a great example.). And Dora the Explorer, Diego and Ni Hao Kai-lan are all teaching kids a little bit about language, difference and tolerance.
Lessons that will serve them well for a life time. Lessons that many adults could stand to learn as well.
Even shows like Disney’s Phineas & Ferb have merit. My boys love this show and I’m partial to the annoying Isabella (“Whatcha’ Dooooin’?).
In the “Summer Belongs to You” episode they take advantage of the longest day of the year (summer solstice) to take a round the world trip with their friends in an effort to have the “Biggest, Longest, Funnest summer day of all time”.
Kids right after my own heart.
And the prevalence of kids traveling on TV has benefits for adults as well.
A certain mother, for example, is finding it increasingly easier to walk away from the kitchen, cozy up next to her sons and watch what they’re watching.