Media influences our childhood. It is stuff our memories are made of, the nostalgia we're linked to. It is what we grew up with.
Few shows have affected the way we think about education, parenting, childhood and cultural diversity the way Sesame Street has. When it arrived, scientists were just discovering that our brains are not fully formed at birth and could be affected by early experiences.
When Mitt Romney announced he would cut PBS funding if he became president, the world rose up in universal uproar at what this would mean for Sesame Street. Would Big Bird be fired?
Internet memes flooded the web, showing their support for the beloved yellow bird who is the spokesperson of all things good about childhood.
Studies show that "children are influenced by media – they learn by observing, imitating and making behaviors their own." And it's true. The media we were exposed to as children has remained with us. We have absorbed it as part of ourselves; it has helped in shaping the adults we have become.
Disney buying Star Wars, caused generations of now-adults, then-children/teenagers to protest. We have different associations of both equally treasured legacies. The essence of Mickey Mouse and the essence of Darth Vader, belong in two separate parts of ourselves. We grew up with both, but one represents innocence while the other represents the thin bloodlines of good and evil.
Watching Disney cartoons, we remember what it was like to be children, to laugh at Timon and Pumba, to learn about love from Beauty and the Beast, to understand that everything has a feeling, a voice, a life. Whether it's a teapot or stone statues. Watching Star Wars, we learnt of the complexities between the good side and the bad side. Of how life doesn't have to be in black and white. More often than not, it is grey.
From a regional perspective, Captain Majid taught Arab children the value of friendship, the importance of healthy competition and the lifelong bond that can be formed with sport. Similarly, Marroco showed little girls the joyful drama that can be found in the simplicity of daily life.
Our childhood comes back to us when remembering the Marroco theme song, Yoda's voice, and Cookie Monster's rhyme. Our childhood is safe – as long as we have our media memories.