When we were young children, educational television was a part of many of our daily lives.
Shows such as "Sesame Street," "Mr. Rogers," and "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" were put on so we could watch entertaining television while still learning that Rockapella could carry a heckuva a tune.
As I grew up, certain shows still taught me lessons, however as I aged, the lessons became more about the subject of life.
I learned on "Beverly Hills, 90201" that you couldn't drink before prom, because if you did and got caught, you couldn't graduate. That is unless everyone at your school started chants of "Donna Martin graduates" for you. Considering my name isn't Donna Martin, it probably wouldn't have worked.
Prior to learning that lesson, I was taught that you can't play hide-and-seek and hide in a refrigerator. Thank you Punky Brewster. I also learned how to administer CPR in that episode.
As an adult, I continue to learn lessons that help me become a better person. No, I'm not watching Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil or Dr. Oprah. I'm actually picking up life lessons from very unlikely candidates.
The first lesson I learned was about parenting, or about the parent I hope to become, and this lesson was taught to me by the TLC pageant program, "Toddlers and Tiaras."
I never really watched this show prior to my insomniatic Wednesday night, but it was on and, well, there was nothing else to watch. But I thought it would be interesting, having dealt with and been the daughter of a competition dance mother, I was curious to see how pageant mothers differed from dance moms.
The difference: They're crazier, and not as well dressed. At least on that TV show.
One would think since you're putting your daughter into a competition purely to reaffirm your belief that your child is the cutest / prettiest kid out there. Great. Fantastic.
Apparently every one of these women spent all of their money on their child's wardrobe for the pageant and had none left, because some of these women were wearing raggedy, old T-shirts and some didn't even look like they showered.
So, life lesson taken from "Toddlers and Tiaras." If I end up becoming a pageant mom (which is not out of the realm of possibility) I vow to look presentable, with my hair done and blue jeans that were bought in the current decade.
My other life lesson that I'm learning comes from my favorite reality / comedy show, "The Millionaire Matchmaker." That's right, folks. Patty, her staff, her millionaires and the women they date are giving this girl lessons on dating.
I've recently re-entered the "dating" world, which, might be the scariest world to live in, and frankly folks, I need some help.
Since I had been out of practice when it comes to the small talk / dinner / drinks thing that is apparently a first date, I figured I'd watch a show about dating to pick up some pointers.
Here is one that I think I knew but was reaffirmed of after watching: When conversation starts, don't lead with heavy topics. a.k.a., a good first line is not, "My (fill in the blank) died when I was 10."
This girl on the show led with the fact that she used to have an eating disorder and that her mother died when she was young. Literally, all of this in under a minute of conversation. Whoa! I haven't dated in over seven years and I know not to open with that.
Note to self: No heavy topics. Keep the conversation light, fun and witty. I can do that. I think.
And people say television is a waste of time. I beg to differ. Because of one sleepless night I learned that I want to be a presentable mother when I have children in beauty contests, how to date potential husbands and I learned that if I'm walking around with my pants on the ground that I will look like a fool.
I feel so educated.