Hop on the Magic School Bus!

So it’s obviously true that if you miss one day in a set routine then  you’re likely to miss more days. I didn’t get a post up last Thursday because of all the excitement surrounding opening night of the new Hunger Games movie (which was awesome, by the way. Highly recommended). And then I don’t know what happened on Monday but I obviously had some sort of brain malfunction because here we are, on Wednesday, just getting the week’s long post.

[And I’m having a lot of trouble with my D key this morning, so if a word doesn’t seem right, add a D and that will probably fix the problem.]

The Mister, our roommates and I had a conversation over dinner Monday night that got me to thinking. We were talking about all the cartoons and kids’ shows we used to watch – The Magic School Bus (MSB), Arthur, School House Rock, Tom and Jerry, The Jetsons – and comparing them to kids’ cartoons today. What happened, America? Kids shows today seem to feature giggling stupid girls, boys who destroy things, animals that speak garbaldygook and dance around like they’re on LSD… the list goes on. I think I learned more from watching MSB than I did in all three years of middle school science class. In fact, I distinctly remember sitting in a science test – 7th grade, I think – and reviewing a MSB episode in my head to figure out a question about space.

The Mister and I have already decided that, when we have children, instead of buying them the entire Sesame Street collection or the Baby Einstein DVDs, we’re just going to buy them all the MSB episodes. They will also know all the words to the School House Rock videos. The only way I understand how proposed bills (are supposed to) become laws in Congress is from those movies. “Oh I’m just a bill, yes I’m only a bill, so I’m sittin’ here on Capitol Hill. Maybe some day I’ll be a law, yes I hope and pray that I will, but today I am still just a bill.” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then watch this video.) I also learned about grammar and history from those movies. I think my parents have the whole set lying around somewhere, and you’d better believe that our kids are gonna have the whole series memorized. (And they’re also going to play outside. I did, and I’m fine.)

Our kids, however, are not going to ride the actual school bus, as long as I can help it. That trip was a nightmare two times a day, and I am forever thankful that the bus stop was finally too far from our house in Murfreesboro that my wonderful mother drove my brother and me every day until I could drive us myself. My freshman year of high school I had to share my assigned bus seat with two enormous girls from down the street who really each needed a seat to themselves, and I (being rather small) was squished into a four-inch space between the bus window and my seatmate every morning. Then every afternoon I sat on my backpack in the aisle on the way home. I was always the last one on the bus in the afternoons because I had to get from my last class to my locker on the other side of the high school, make sure I had everything I needed for homework, and then run to catch the bus outside in the five minutes they gave us before they all pulled away. (More than once I missed it. Good thing I had a stay-at-home Mom or I would have spent a lot more time on that bench out by the front flagpole.) Somehow the physics would work out that the two big girls could fit if I was there first, but if they were there first there was no room left for me, and you weren’t allowed to sit anywhere but in your assigned seat. The American school bus system today is terrible. Just because you can theoretically fit three kids to a seat does not mean it’s actually physically possible. Have you looked at the size of some school-aged children today? Seriously.

Anyway, that was way off topic. Kids’ cartoons. Yes. That’s what I was talking about.

Summary: buy your kids School House Rock and The Magic School Bus (just making sure they know that Pluto is no longer a planet, even though Mrs. Frizzell says it is), and they’ll be alright in this world.

What cartoons did you watch growing up? Do you still remember something you learned from one of them?

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