As a parent, I am always looking for teachable moments, even when watching television. One recent teachable moment was the most heart-warming interaction between Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli at the Oscars last Sunday. I was unsuccessfully holding back tears of joy when my son asked me if I was crying because the pretty grandma was in a wheelchair. I explained that I was crying because I was happy watching how kind and loving Lady Gaga was towards "the pretty grandma in a wheelchair."
Very few 9-year-old boys know about the legendary Liza Minnelli, so I explained further, "Ms. Minnelli was a really famous movie star when I was a kid. She got really sick, and although she is better now her body does not work like it used to. That is why she is in a wheelchair. Sometimes she needs help talking, and Lady Gaga was helping while being kind. When you help someone and be kind, it makes everyone happy." Satisfied with this answer, he runs to play.
Later when I am watching Tony Kotsur's interview during an "after the Oscars" show, my son asks, " why is the man moving his hands?"
I had the opportunity to introduce my son to American Sign Language and explain Mr. Kotsur was a member of the deaf community. Again satisfied with my answer, he ran away to play with his Sonic the Hedgehog toys and later asked me to paint his fingernails blue.
Practically speaking, it was just another boring awards show. But by watching others my son learned how to be kind and to be accepting of differences. Of course, I also teach this myself. Nonetheless, watching positive behavior being modeled by others, is always the best lesson of all.