As you may already know, I love the TV show Glee. I have written several posts on it previously, including a post about why everybody should be tuning in on Tuesday nights. But when I wrote that post, I was thinking more about adults than kids. As this season has gone on, I have become more convinced that it is an excellent family show as well. It is a hotly debated topic – whether or not to let children watch the show – but I have reached my own verdict: It is just too good to let my kids pass up.
Last week’s episode was a great example of why the subject matter in Glee is so important for kids. The characters tackled the tough issue of bullying. In the story Kurt, a young, gay, male character struggles with constant and prolonged bullying from a classmate. He tries several strategies to deal with the bully (ignoring him, confronting him, talking sensibly to him) with confusing, and not terribly effective results. As painful and frustrating as it was to watch this storyline unfold, I found it reflective of real life. When I talk to boys and girls in my practice about coping with bullying, their efforts frequently end the same way. Sometimes they work for a bit, sometimes they make the bullying worse, but the suffering of the bullied remains a constant.
I also love to watch Glee with my kids because they are exposed to different lifestyles (gay, straight, questioning), different religious beliefs (Christian, Jewish, atheist), different styles of dress and demeanor (nerd, jock, butch, cheerleader), and different levels of ability (wheelchair-bound, able-bodied, intellectually disabled). And the best part is that these differences are not always the main focus of the show. The various characters and their unique attributes are simply part of the greater storyline, song, or dance. It makes McKinley High School a place we all might aspire to be.