Do you know what it feels like to see two of your favorite worlds collide? I do! Dave is on Sesame Street! Singing about feelings!
For years now, I've been wondering why Dave was never on Sesame Street. I've always loved the show, and now that I have a daughter, we've really enjoyed watching the music pieces together. The Feist video has always been our favorite, but we also get into the groove with will.i.am, Tilly and The Wall, Bruno Mars, and even Elvis Costello. But now, to have Dave to add to the mix is fantabulous!
I've always admired the fact that Sesame Street lets musicians write their own songs, in their own style for the show. I wonder if they are given a topic to sing about, or if that is also up to the artist. Either way, I think it's outrageously awesome that Dave is there singing about feelings.
As a psychologist, I'm often at odds with some of the messages that well-meaning programs send to children about feelings. More often than not, kids are told to 'just move on," when something unpleasant happens to them. There is one series of children's books that I had heard great things about, only to find out for myself that it teaches kids not to cry when they are unhappy. I just can't stand behind this idea. Emotions are extremely important to mental health. We have them for a reason, and when our goal is to "get them under control," often, just the opposite happens. I guess Dave has known this for awhile, as the "Seek Up," line, "forget about the notion that our emotions can be kept at bay," suggests. It's interesting that he uses ocean imagery in this lyric, as I always explain to people that emotions are like waves. They come and they go, and the more that we learn to ride them, the better off we will be. Instead of standing at the shoreline trying to stop a wave, just let it wash over you. As quickly as it comes, so it will go.
And once again, with his new Sesame Street song, Dave gets it right. He sings about the importance of having a word to name a feeling, and explains that we won't always feel happy. Nowhere in the song is there pressure to "suck it up," or "sweep it under the rug." Instead, Dave shows how spending some time thinking about how one is feeling, and explaining the circumstances that led to this feeling, is helpful. He's also showing that music is a wonderful coping skill, one that I'm sure he uses in his own life. Writing music, or channeling one's painful emotions into any creative endeavor is extremely healing because it's a way of opening the mind while allowing the emotions to flow. It doesn't rely on stopping or denying feelings, which, alternatively is the goal of many addictive behaviors.
Actually, I would love for Dave to write a children's CD. I know my daughter would love it since she's been hearing his voice, literally, since she was in the womb. Just imagine how much more tolerable those children's songs would be if Dave was singing, "Old Dave Matthews had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O!"
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.