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It’s Not Easy Being Green: Thoughts for Back to School Inspired by Jim Henson

In the book, “It’s Not Easy Being Green and Other Things to Consider,” the family and friends of Muppet creator and puppeteer, Jim Henson, reflect on his life, creativity, and philosophy. Henson’s unlikely journey began in rural Mississippi, where he developed his first love, television. At 17, he asked for a job at a local TV station in Washington DC. Initially turned away, he noticed a sign on a bulletin board for a puppeteer. Determined, Henson went to the local library, borrowed a book on puppeteering, built some puppets, and went back to the station. “Now I am a puppeteer. Will you hire me?” he asked. They did. Within two years, Henson had his own show and Kermit the Frog was born. After that came more Muppets, Sesame Street, and a legacy of entertaining children with collaborators he encouraged and remarkable joy he embraced.

Henson chose to focus on bright spots—an opportunity to become a puppeteer—rather than dwell on his initial job rejection. This story offers valuable lessons for parents as another school year draws near.

1) It isn’t easy being green: Starting a new school year isn’t easy for your child. It’s probably not easy for you or your child’s teacher, either. You’re all in this together, so be kind and understanding.

2) Focus on bright spots: It’s tempting to connect with the school when you feel frustrated or concerned, but there is much to be learned from bright spots, too. What is going well for your child? What does your child love about the teacher? Focus on positives and communicate your appreciation to the school and teacher. Everybody loves hearing good news and bright spots can really shape the tone and course of a school year.

3) Collaborate with shared responsibilities: Reach out to your child’s teacher throughout the school year, not just during Parent Teacher Nights. Ask how you can collaborate in your child’s success together.

4) Inquire with curiosity and respect: If you are unsure about anything happening at school, or if you have concerns, ask curious and respectful questions. Listen closely and ask more questions if you’re still feeling uncertain about how to support your child. Problem-solve with the teacher and school administrators with friendly cooperation.

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending.” That’s a Henson quotation that is cited often. When it comes to your child’s school year, you can help write the beginning and middle, too. You have a big role to play in starting things off on a positive note, and helping your child’s year continue that way.

If you’re concerned about your child’s experience at school, or about any skills needing support, please reach out by calling us at 1-833-482-5558 or by emailing us at [email protected]. We’re here to help.

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