“We the people in order to preserve a more perfect union, establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility…Provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and then secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and esssstaaaabbllllish this Constitution…Of the United States of Ahhhhhhmerica!”

I have been able to recite—or rather sing—the preamble to the United States Constitution for most of my life, thanks to Schoolhouse Rock. I just did that from memory. (I think it’s mostly right…)

Eli was trying to ask me questions about conjunctions the other day, and so I pulled up “Conjunction Junction,” which has lead us down a three-week rabbit hole of Schoolhouse Rock videos in my house. It’s astounding how much I still remember from them, and how many I still know all the words to.

It’s so hard to explain something like Schoolhouse Rock to kids in a modern world.

“So, we didn’t have YouTube, or Netflix, or Hulu, or Amazon Prime, or cable or even DVD players, or even VCRs which were something that came before DVDs….” I tried to tell my kids. “We only had three channels. And that was all we could watch!”

“What were the channels?” asked Eli. His question made as little sense to me as my description made to him. Answering NBC or CBS would mean absolutely nothing to him.

“None of them were the Disney Channel,” I finally answered. “Anyway, we could only watch cartoons on Saturday mornings and so every child in America got up early Saturday mornings and watched the same cartoons. It was THE ONLY TIME we could watch cartoons. And some genius put Schoolhouse Rock videos in the middle of those cartoons so we couldn’t avoid learning during that time. Ask anyone moms age who grew up here to sing to you about adverbs or interjections or the number three. They will all know the songs.”

I’m not the first to pine for a time when we had such a common and shared pop culture. But it is amazing when you try to explain this world to a child. It’s like explaining the pervasiveness of Schoolhouse Rock to an alien.

I can’t decide what’s more remarkable: That I still remember every Schoolhouse Rock song, or that they still work on my kids. It must feel amazing to have created something so enduring in such a churn and burn world.

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

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