Lesson Learned: Telethons Can Be Educational

I debated about letting my son watch Idol Gives Back, the American Idol episode that looks a lot like a Sally Struthers Feed the Children commercial. I was nervous about how he might react to the poverty and graphic images that would surely be used to highlight the issues of hunger here in America and abroad. As a child I remember watching many a telethon. I actually didn’t realize Jerry Lewis was an actor until I was an adult. I thought he was just the guy who hosted star-studded charity television events.

I decided to give it a go. As my son and I watched, I sat close ready to answer all his questions. He asked things like, “Why is that boy so thin?" "What does poverty mean?" "How do you get malaria?" and "Mommy, why are you crying?" All legitimate questions, which I answered to the best of my ability.

Though I think some of the scenes were a bit graphic, the show was an interesting way to teach a child about giving back. It was also as close as we’ve gotten to seeing how others, who are not so fortunate, live. He marveled at the idea that we throw a penny in a fountain and walk away, while there are children who need mosquito nets that cost mere pennies. He was amazed at the idea of having one book for 300 children and he was saddened by how malnourished some of the children were. As we turned off the show he ran to his room and got out his piggy bank saying, "I want to give them some money." I guess I made the right decision.

Did you let your children watch Idol Gives Back? Chime in below!

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