+

Sesame Street has a long history of helping kids explore tough emotional and societal issues.

I credit much of my early childhood education to Sesame Street programming. Four decades ago, the show helped me learn not just letters and numbers, but real-life social and emotional skills as well. I watched Bert and Ernie work through friend squabbles and Kermit and Cookie Monster talk about different kinds of feelings. I remember Buffy St. Marie breastfeeding her baby and telling Big Bird matter-of-factly what she was doing.  

When Mr. Hooper died, I was old enough to see how well the show handled the topic of death and all of the questions and feelings that went along with it. Sesame Street didn't shy away from hard topics, and generations of kids have benefited from the creators' and collaborators' respect for children's capacities.


Thankfully, that hasn't changed. In 2011, Sesame Street introduced a character named Lily, whose family didn't have enough to eat. Now Lily is helping kids understand another harsh reality millions of kids face.

As a character brought on to help kids understand food insecurity, Lily is back to take on homelessness.

Lily arrived on the Sesame Street scene sharing how her family sometimes visits the food pantry. Now she will be sharing that her family sometimes doesn't have a home to live in. According to the New York Times, the storyline will include Lily's family alternating between sleeping in shelters, bunking with relatives, and staying with Sofia, a person who works at the local community center.

The show won't actually use the word "homeless," as there's a negative stigma surrounding that term. Instead, the letter H will represent hope, help, healing, and home. In the first segment released on Youtube, Sofia tells Lily that her namesake's flower is a symbol of hope. She also reassures her that home is more than a house or an apartment—it's "where the love is."

In New York City, one out of every 10 school-aged kids experienced homelessness last year.

Despite an economy that is thriving by many measures, some people in the most expensive U.S. cities still face economic hardship. Housing costs in some markets have pushed people out of house and home, literally. And some—too many—of those people are children.

New York City, where Sesame Street is set, saw its third consecutive year with more than 100,000 students living in temporary housing during the school year—the largest number since record-keeping began. And nationwide, 2.5 million children face homelessness. That's one out of 30 kids—an appalling number in the world's largest economy.

Storylines and characters like Lily give kids with struggling families a voice, in addition to fostering empathy in kids who may not be aware of this issue. Kudos to Sesame Street for continuing to lead the way helping children learn about tough topics.

Check out the first segment here:

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Here, have a round of joy. It's on us.

Alexas_Fotos/Canva

Upworthy's weekly roundup of delights.

When headlines and social media seem to be dominated by the negative, we all need reminders that the world is full of wonderfulness. Joy connects and inspires us and can be found everywhere—if we keep our eyes open and look for it. One of our goals at Upworthy is to make that search a little easier by telling stories that highlight the best of humanity and sharing the delights, large and small, that unite us.

Each week, we collect 10 things that made us smile and offer them to you to enjoy and share with others. We hope this week's list tickles your heart and brings a smile (or 10) to your face as well.

1. Tico the parrot is a master vocalist. Not even an exaggeration.

@ticoandtheman

On a dark desert hwy, cool wind in my hair…

We've shared some delightful parrots in these roundups before, and each one somehow seems to out-entertain the last. I did not see Tico's vocal skills coming, though. The intonation! The vibrato! Even my music major daughter was blown away by this singing bird.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents.

"Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don’t know why."

This story originally appeared on 1.05.19


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.


Keep ReadingShow less