The popular children’s television broadcast Sesame Street has decided to breach the subject of divorce, airing a 13-minute segment on the matter during one of its recent web episodes.
The segment features a puppet named Abby Cadabby, a pink fairy with sparkles in her fur. Cadabby is joining other Sesame Street members as they draw pictures of their house when they are approached by longtime cast member Gordon, who asks what the puppets are doing.
“This is a picture of Elmo’s apartment,” Elmo announces.
“This one is where I live with my mommy, and this one is where I live with my daddy,” Cadabby says, holding up two crayon drawings.
Elmo then asks, “But Abby, why don’t you all live in one house together?” She responds, “Well, because my parents are divorced.”
Elmo then proceeds to ask what divorce means.
“Well, divorce means that Abby’s mommy and daddy aren’t married anymore,” replies Gordon in an expressionless face.
“Huh. Elmo doesn’t get it,” the furry red puppet replies.
Abby explains in detail.
“When my mommy and daddy were married, we all lived together in one house. But, one day they told me that they had some grown up problems — problems they couldn’t fix,” she outlines. “Mommy and Daddy told me that they decided not to be married to each other anymore, but they said they both still loved me very much.”
The segment also shows interviews with children whose parents are divorced.
According to reports, Sesame Street tried to infuse the subject of divorce in an episode in the 1990’s, writing into the script lines that infer that Snuffy the elephant’s father would be moving out of the house as his parents had split up. The notion did not sit well with viewers, and children were stated to have become concerned as to where Snuffy would now live, and expressed concern and fear over whether their parents would also stop loving each other and move out of the house.
“[W]hen Sesame Street tested the segment on preschoolers, just weeks before it was scheduled to air, it was nothing short of a disaster,” creators admitted. “They cried.”
In a recent press release from Sesame Street Workshop, the parent company behind the broadcast, the children’s program outlined that it felt that the issue of divorce should be tackled as it has become commonplace in society.
“Each year about 1.5 million children confront the divorce of their parents, a transition that can be challenging for the entire family, especially young children,” it wrote. “While 40 percent of families experiencing this, there are few resources to show children they are not the only ones with big questions and feelings about divorce.”
According to 2011 statistics from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, divorce rates among professing Christians are only 8 percent lower than non-Christians. Some attribute this figure to the fact that many who profess to know Christ do not follow His word.
“There’s something about being a nominal ‘Christian’ that is linked to a lot of negative outcomes when it comes to family life,” said Brad Wilcox of the National Marriage Project. “Being a committed, faithful believer makes a measurable difference in marriage.”