Interacting with Junior

One of the problems with having 12,463 channels, or thereabouts, on television is that there must be a program showing on all those stations.

That troubling thought occurred to us one night when we hit upon a channel that was airing “Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Squeakquel.” Not for the first time we thought there must be divine intent in roadkill.

Those chipmunks deserved a good tire.

But, alas, some studio — somewhere — was being paid a residual as Alvin and his fellow rodents ate up some time on a channel that only bored editorial writers watch.

Wait. We know some of you will protest: “But that is wonderful children’s fare.” No, it isn’t — it’s a show guaranteed to lower the IQ of anyone who watches it by 50 points.

Your children would be better off chewing on the edge of a Little Golden Book.

We worry sometimes that television has become a babysitter. “We’ll let Junior watch ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel’ — it will teach him compassion.” Then Mom and Dad head for the lanai for a glass of wine.

Other folks are now inclined to let their phone or tablet act as a teaching babysitter. There are certainly millions more websites than television channels. Surely, one of them will catch Junior’s interest and teach him important things at the same time. Well, maybe — maybe not. Certainly, there are some websites we’d hate to have Junior happen upon. Some lessons should not be learned until one is an adult — if at all.

We’d suggest there is a better way to instruct Junior than with TVs or mobile devices. Every night, read him (or her) a chapter from “Winnie the Pooh.” When you finish that, each night read a chapter from “The House at Pooh Corner.”

These old books by A. A. Milne will indeed teach Junior about compassion — and what being a friend means.

By the way, at the end of each chapter there is plenty of time for Mom and Dad to go out on the lanai and have a glass of wine.

(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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