Today's headlines, interspersed with news on Gaza, Syria, and various other news points, was interrupted with news that would devastate my boys if they understood: Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street. It appears that the scandal of a false accusation and another accusation being filed against him has become a distraction for him and for Sesame Workshop, so he resigned. As Sesame Workshop's blog stated, it is a sad day for Sesame Street.
I have never been a huge fan of Elmo, as I have always resented him for taking the place of Kermit the Frog, of whom I have very fond memories. And with the advent of Elmo, Sesame Street changed it's format significantly. It became more targeted, more focused, almost laser-like in it's educational mandate, but leaving some of the fun muppet skits that I enjoyed when I was very young. But, I figured, it was up to them and how kids would learn best.
When I had kids, I was hesitant to have them watch Sesame Street, because it was so different then I remembered. But watching it with them, I understood what they were learning. I saw what Kevin had done with Elmo, and why he was so popular. I saw the educational vision of Sesame Workshop, and was very impressed.
Over the years, we have gotten several toys with Elmo's voice, many of which have been relegated to storage or to thrift stores because our kids have grown out of them. But they haven't grown out of Sesame Street, which has been a huge contributor to their education. And now, it is less.
Not less in the sense that Sesame Street will suffer from Kevin's departure monetarily, or even in their vision. Sesame Street lost it's creator in the 80's, and managed to continue to grow into a powerful educational provider to the world. Sesame Street is also not less in it's vision, as they will continue with purpose to educate our children. No, it will be less because Elmo, who has become a whole generation's symbol of education, acceptance, and curiosity, will be either phased out or replaced by another puppeteer. Kevin is no longer there, no longer Elmo, and for that, it will be less.
I wish Kevin all the best as he works through his private life, and I hope it will remain just that, private. I hope that Sesame Street will give him a proper send-off, perhaps by helping children understand what happens when a friend moves away (like Elmo). It will make it less traumatic for the kids, and perhaps help everyone cope with the loss of the little red monster who was friends with everyone.
Kevin, you will be missed. Thank you for your work, for your efforts, and your positive influence on the lives of my children. I wish you all the best.