Many children’s TV shows have come and gone in my nine years of parenting, but one that has really stuck with me is Curious George. I don’t know what it is about that sweet little monkey, but I truly love him and that show. My oldest son started watching it as a toddler, and thankfully, my youngest son still loves George. I will truly mourn the day when all my boys stop watching George and the Man with the Yellow Hat. Besides the fact that it just isn’t annoying like a lot of kids’ TV shows, we all have learned so many great life lessons from those 15-minute episodes.
George has taught my children a lot about life, and in turn, has taught me a lot about parenting.
First of all, George knows that family and friends are important. Despite being a monkey, George has some tight relationships with his people. He has a sweet little group of friends that he spends his time with, and he’s fiercely loyal to his person, The Man with the Yellow Hat. He’s there for them when they’re sad, sick, and when they have something to celebrate. He includes everyone and leaves no one out. He shows them kindness, courtesy, and empathy. These are all qualities I want my children, and many adults I know, to emulate.
Second, George shows everyone that it’s ok to make mistakes. If you’ve ever watched one episode of Curious George, you know that sweet monkey makes tons of mistakes. The world doesn’t come crashing down around him when this happens. He doesn’t live in fear of the repercussions. He never lets them crush his spirit or get him down. He quickly learns from his mistakes and moves on. This is an important lesson for children — they need to know that part of life is making mistakes and learning from them. The Man in the Yellow Hat takes them in stride as well. As parents, we need to go easy on our children when they do something wrong. We need to teach them the correct way instead of reprimanding them.
Third, no matter what happens to George, he has a great attitude. George gets into some sticky situations, but no matter what, he has a smile on his face. You never see George with a bad attitude or chip on his shoulder. I know this isn’t a completely realistic outlook, but George shows that too. If he gets upset about something, he deals with it, and then quickly moves on. He looks for the best in every situation and makes a positive out of it. I don’t know about you, but I know myself and my children can be a bit pessimistic at times, so we need to follow George’s lead when we feel that way.
Fourth, George shows that learning should be fun. That monkey learns something new every episode. Learning a new skill can often be difficult and frustrating, but George always does so while making it fun. As a mom and teacher, I know that this is such a valuable life skill to have. You’re never going to grow without learning, and you’re never going to learn if you crumble at the first sign of difficulty. George shows that it often takes a lot of time and practice to master a new skill, but he finds joy in the journey. Sequentially, he also teaches my children something new every episode. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself saying, “Remember that episode of Curious George where he…” We’ve put so many of his teaching moments into our everyday lives.
Fifth, Curious George teaches us that it’s ok to be different. George is a monkey, and everyone treats him like an equal. It doesn’t matter that he’s an animal — he’s included and loved by everyone. George, on the same hand, includes everyone else. Whether it is an animal, child, or elderly person, George is fast friends with them. This is a beautiful quality he and the characters on the show possess, and I hope my children are just as accepting as they are.
And finally, George lets everyone know that it’s ok to be curious. He is obviously a very curious little monkey, and that’s one of his character traits that resonates with me the most. I’ve never met anyone more curious than my three boys. At times that can be a bit frustrating, but you know what…they’re kids. It’s a part of them like it’s a part of George. They come into this world basically knowing nothing, and it’s their curiosity that drives them to figure everything out. While it may be messy along the way, curiosity really is a beautiful thing. Thanks to George, I can now appreciate this about my children instead of wishing they were more indifferent to the world around them.