Detroit native, Amy Goldstein was living and working in New York City in 2001 during the 9/11 terror attacks. As a consultant to non-profit organizations who specialized in International Policy and the Middle East, the aftermath of the attacks shifted this high-powered professional into overdrive, but the events of that day also changed her perspective on life. At the age of 36, Amy brought a daughter, Molly Elizabeth into the world, and today she describes the now 10-year-old as “a salvation” in her life. Six months before Molly’s third birthday, Amy came to another momentous realization. Single mother, demanding career, a young child, the day-to-day grind of big-city living, she simply couldn’t do it all, and she wanted a different lifestyle for her daughter, a quieter, more nurturing environment for her to grow up in. So after 18 years, Amy traded the subway and skyscrapers for a car and a house, taking a job that brought her out of the international realm into a local arena.
Amy has seen to it that Molly’s education is well-rounded and values-based, finding “teachable moments” daily. One such moment came two years ago when the mother-daughter duo discovered INSP.
“We were so thrilled to find ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ first because she was eight, and…We were just reading the books, and it really spoke to her….The shows on INSP, between ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and ‘The Waltons,’ have really given me personal strength…,” she says, “It gives me personal strength, and it helps my daughter see that, whereas it looks like her fellow students, her classmates are doing okay, people struggle, and they get through it, and they stick together, and it’s difficult. Sometimes we go on a ‘money diet,’ and sometimes The Waltons, they try to figure out how they can afford something special.”
“…we could always turn on INSP, and it would make me feel better, and it would bring us closer, me and my daughter.”
Amy appreciates that she can share shows with her daughter that take place during the Great Depression and the pioneer days. Molly Elizabeth was named after Amy’s great-grandparents who came to the United States before World War I, so Amy uses that family fact along with the storyline of a certain Depression era family to start a conversation.
“Well grandma Molly went through the Depression, too,” Amy says, giving an example of how she approaches the topic with her daughter, “And Grandma Ann was born in 1918, and because John Walton, Senior, the dad, had been in WWI, we could talk a little bit about that.”
Amy says, shows such as “The Waltons,” “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and “Little House on the Prairie” tackle difficult issues, and they offer important lessons for Molly.
“They all provide different examples of values-based problem solving and ethics. The characters all face problems and challenges, but are able to overcome them due to their own moral compass, family support and strength. Most of today’s kid-targeted shows portray parents as incompetent, but INSP’s shows show parents and grandparents who have wisdom. Yet, the parents are also shown to struggle with their problems or challenges. They are human, and that is one of the key lessons of the shows.”
Having grown up a child of divorced parents, Amy understands the importance of learning the ways in which a traditional family should function. She describes her own family as having “high entertainment value…which isn’t always good for growing up,” but watching the types of shows, such as those featured on INSP when she was young, helped her attain a degree of “normalcy.” Today, they provide the same sense of security for her daughter.
“These episodes have led to wonderful conversations with my daughter. She has internalized their messages and draws on them when she has her own challenges.”
Amy and Molly will laugh about whiny Mary Ellen, Jim-Bob’s string of girlfriends and who John-Boy is in love with this time, and it all comes back to setting a strong foundation on which Molly can grow.
“It’s a lot of fun, and I love being able to share this with my daughter because it’s really wisdom. It’s old-fashioned American wisdom. And it’s based on literature…Earl Hamner’s voice at the beginning and the end, his writing is so beautiful. I try to point that out. I say, listen to the words, listen how he crafts this. You almost don’t need the pictures.”
In a few years, Molly will be a teenager, and Amy approaches that milestone with a bit of trepidation, as any parent would, but also with confidence thanks to the values she’s instilled and the bond they’ve formed.
“Even on the days I’m having the most difficulty personally, whether it’s through work or financial, we could always turn on INSP, and it would make me feel better, and it would bring us closer, me and my daughter.”