For weeks I have had Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey queued up on my “to watch” list. It took me a while because if I have the time to watch a movie it means the babies are sleeping, and who wants to watch a movie about Elmo after the babies have gone to sleep?
But I absolutely love biographies and hearing people’s stories.
Kevin Clash‘s did not disappoint.
A major theme became evident as I watched his life’s story unfold.
The unwavering support of his parents
Kevin was entranced by puppets from a very young age, and his parents did not discourage this. His mom said everyone was always telling her he should be outside, or playing basketball. But, she said, making puppets “was a talent that he had and he loved it.”
Dan Allender, in his book How Children Raise Parents, writes, “If we want to be good parents, we must learn how to read our children. And that requires learning how to listen to our children- one of life’s most difficult, most demanding tasks.” He goes on to say we should study our children and guide them in the direction of their natural bent.
Kevin Clash’s parents did this well.
As it turns out, he studied them too, and their characteristics are personified in Elmo. Clash admits that Elmo is his parents- “Elmo is like my dad, very imaginative and creative. And Elmo is also like my mother. The ball of fire that Elmo is, my mom is like that, a lot of energy and excitement about life.”
“Being Elmo” gave me renewed appreciation for Sesame Street as a whole and encouraged my role as a mother in guiding my children to follow their dreams.
“There’s always going to be someone saying to you that you might not succeed…there’s always going to be some type of obstacle in the way. All of those things will go away if you really focus on what makes you happy.”
And through Elmo, Kevin Clash brings happiness to millions of children all over this world.