Not so long ago in Boston a very influential person spoke at the Convention Center as a key note speaker.
His audience included thousands of pediatricians from all over the world.
This man became influential because he never gave up and by doing what he loves well, he got the attention of one of America’s icon entertainers—Jim Henson. That was in 1962.
Today we know the speaker at a recent American Academy of Pediatrics Convention as Caroll Spinney, the voice of Big Bird and Oscar, characters on Sesame Street.
Mr Caroll talked about compassion and other qualities that Sesame Street has tried to teach families over the past few decades. Qualities such as self-confidence, persistence, imagination, tolerance, curiosity, openness, respect and humor.
Few people will debate the impact of Sesame Street which often is used as an example of educational TV.
When I read up more on the life of Caroll Spinney I was struck by the truth in the saying: Luck is that which happens when opportunity and preparation meet.
He was a talented puppeteer, but if he was never noticed by Jim Henson would we know him today as the voice of both Big Bird and Oscar the grouch?
He worked hard his entire career but what if the opportunity never knocked on his door?
Reflecting on the life of Caroll Spinney and the influence of Sesame Street in our society I drew three lessons
—Do what you enjoy and do it well
—Always be full of compassion
—In a world filled with strife and animosity our children should be reminded that there are qualities we as a society must agree on……. qualities such as self-confidence, persistence, imagination, tolerance, curiosity, openness, respect and humor.
Next time at a cocktail party when someone is critical of TV, ask them what they think of Sesame Street?