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Video: 'Sesame Street' teaches children about loss, grief

By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 17, 2012 in Lifestyle
A video from the "Sesame Street" episode "Farewell, Mr Hooper," first aired on Nov. 24, 1983, has gone viral in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy. It shows the moment Big Bird learns that Mr Hooper, who owned Sesame Street's Hooper Store, had died.
Jezebel posted the clip with the comment: "It'll break your heart about fifty times in one viewing."
The video shows Susan, played by Loretta Long, explaining to Big Bird: "Mr. Hooper is not coming back. When people die, people don't come back."
But Big Bird, like a young child, grapples with the concept of death. He protests, "But he's got to come back. Who's going to take care of the store? And who's going to make my birdseed milkshakes?!"
The video is relevant at the time the entire American nation is mourning in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre.
The Huffington Post observes:
It's not the first time "Sesame Street" has come to the aid of parents seeking to explain complicated and frightening concepts to their children. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the "Sesame Street" team recut an episode about hurricanes and post-storm rebuilding originally produced in 2001.
"Sesame Street" also has a website dedicated to providing "Grief Resources."
According to The Huffington Post, The National Institute of Health encourages adults to talk to young ones about loss, grief and death, no matter how difficult it might be. An NIH pamphlet, "Talking to Children About Death," says:
"Death is an inescapable fact of life. We must deal with it, and so must our children. If we are to help them, we must let them know it's okay to talk about it. By talking to our children about death, we may discover what they know and do not know; if they have misconceptions, fears, or worries. We can then help them by providing information, comfort, and understanding."
Even more than sex, death is a very difficult subject for a parent to discuss with a young child whose understanding of the concept may be very vague.
More about Sesame street, Children, Loss, big bird
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