I am not a fan of frequent screen time for kids (or adults), but I love having a family movie night now and then with my kids. It is sometimes a struggle to find a movie that everyone can enjoy, but the documentary, Being Elmo, was a hit for all of us. As an added bonus, Being Elmo solidly supports our three middle school themes: Identity, Community, and Advocacy.
This is the story of Elmo creator, Kevin Clash, and his journey from being a kid in a Baltimore neighborhood who likes to play with dolls to becoming one of the most popular puppeteers in the world. Clash maintains his focus and sense of self despite clearly standing out as a child and teen (a strong portrayal of identity); his family, neighbors, and colleagues support his journey as a young, struggling puppeteer (community support); and even after “making it” in the entertainment business, Clash finds the time to support the Make a Wish Foundation and also mentor young puppeteers, never forgetting how he was supported as a young man (a cycle of advocacy).
There are so many "guidance themes" in this movie: perseverance, focus, attention to detail, and the importance of parental support to just name a few. After viewing this movie, try talking to your child about what helped Clash succeed and what might have stood in his way. This is also a great opportunity for a discussion on non-mainstream careers and following your passion.
Being Elmo is a much-deserved tribute to Kevin Clash but it is also pays homage to the power of creativity and love. Here is a review of Being Elmo from The Washington Post.