When a family is displaced by a natural disaster or because funds are sketchy, a parent is incarcerated or a family tries to pick up the pieces when a loved one who has been fighting to keep our country safe comes home struggling with post-war syndrome – does anyone ever wonder how that affects our young ones?
HBO Max’s documentary series Through Our Eyes spotlights the perspectives of children while experiencing some of the most challenging issues facing families today. In the first documentary series produced by Sesame Workshop, each episode is directed by an award-winning and/or nominated filmmaker designed as a co-viewing experience for adults and kids ages 9 and older. As 10 year Nnadji says so eloquently with the maturity of someone way beyond his years, “You can’t judge a kid for what the parent did.”
The doc drops hard facts which will make your head swim. Did you know that America has less than 5% of the worlds population, but approximately 25% of the worlds prisoners? That one and 14 American children will experience parental incarceration and 2.7 million children have a parent in prison right now, or that there are currently 1.9 million service members and veterans relying on caregiver support with 3.4 million children living in the homes of these caregivers. Watching little 10 year old Lyric become frustrated with the video calls from her Dad dropping and having no control over when or how the calls end is heartbreaking.
As is the episode ‘Uprooted’ episode where we watch an entire family displaced due to ‘Hurricane Harvey” struggle with the fear and uncertainty of if or when another one will hit. It won’t be a matter of if they will need to evacuate – but when. Though Our Eyes is a glaring reminder that we spend so much time and energy on adults and their issues, that somehow our children’s mental wellness is, in some instances, not being nurtured and fostered properly.
The families spotlighted are the exceptional few who’ve have learned to straddle that line with an expert’s eye. Kudos to them all and to the Sesame Workshop in creating a cinematic blueprint for those who may unfortunately encounter these difficult circumstances in the future – if not already in the throws of it right now.