Where have you gone Heathcliff Huxtable?

As I scan the sit-com options for today’s youth, a show with positive educational role models is lacking. Think back through my TV viewing life, the last “popular” show that really showed positive educational values has “The Cosby Show”. The show featured two educated parents struggling to raise their 5 children. Many of the episodes focused on family values and education. Sadly, “The Cosby Show” has been in re-runs since the spring of 1992. Where are our youth to find positive role models in today’s media?

For starters, many have pointed out that today, many kids don’t watch traditional “network” television. If they do, shows like Two and Half-Men, Big-Bang Theory and Modern Family dominate the sit-com genre. Values and education are a bit lacking in all of them. Dramas seem to be more about crime and punishment these days that education. Even the reality shows are devoid of values in fact the often offer quick fixes to life’s problems than promoting a hard-working lifestyle.

Many boys today look to sports for role models. 20 years ago players seemed to be loyal to teams and worked hard to succeed. Now we have superstars who want to team up so they can get an easy run to the finals instead of being loyal to their fans. Or we have a league commissioner who feels that teams need to put on a great show instead of valuing the health of their players. Sports seem to focus on the money that players and owners make instead of how to be good citizens. Sure, our athletes do have foundations and do work to improve society but it is not the focus of sports coverage.

Today’s youths seem to consume most of their media on-demand. You-tube is very popular as well as Netflix. Who is guiding them to shows that will have positive impact? No one, most children watch TV by themselves and seek entertainment that excites them. Educationally valuable shows and clips are all over You-tube and Netflix but so are clips and show that model poor behavior. The bad seems to have more draw to our youth when they are left to their own choices and not exposed to educational programing.

I personally find it ironic that almost all programing for our preschool children has positive educational value. Check out shows like, Barney, Clifford, Curious George or WonderPets. But once our children become school aged, their options dwindle down to shows with zero value for education or character development.

Has the loss of Heathcliff Huxtable affected our youth? Well, I would say our youth need to see good models and champions of strong values, education and hard work. “The Cosby Show” provided those models that seem to be missing in today’s society. I hope media programmers find the errors in their ways and provide us with another strong role model soon. Our youth really need more than politicians words saying “family values and education are what we stand for!” When we are absent of a true highly visible role model in American Society today.