What should kids do with this?

A friend of mine sent Cow-a-dunga! to some of his friends and he got back a really interesting “review.”

it’s very cute, and the message is obviously right on. but i’m not sure what kids are expected to do with the info though. i mean it’s easy to tell kids to recycle or don’t litter but this is a murkier deeper thing… i love michael pollan and he’s all about cows eating grass, not corn… is there further action for a kid once they see it? or is the purpose just to make them think and agitate their parents into buying grass fed milk and meat? or go vegan? i will show it to the boys later but i can already tell you they will love the farting cow.

Great questions! I’m not sure if I have a perfect set of answers, but I’m going to try.

What kids should learn from Heartwood USA

When Heartwood USA turns into a series, each segment will have a “call to action” – a way for kids to take the episode’s lesson (ugh – what a loaded word) home with them. For the pilot, we added some suggestions on our episodes page:

  • Good: Invent solutions
  • Better: Eat better meat
  • Best: Eat less meat
  • Take Action

Yes, we do think that ‘role reversal’ is great – where kids get to “nag” mom and dad instead of the other way around. Last fall, for example, kids in Westchester NY had a “No Idle” week where they nagged their parents not to idle their cars during school drop off.

Ridicule as a tool to fight back against bullies

Part of the “goal” of Heartwood is less tangible than “do X, change Y, reduce Z.” The other night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, a liberal commentator, said that ridicule was a great way to respond to political smears. She was referring to a Fox News “teaser” that wondered if Barack Obama’s “fist bump” could in fact be a “terrorist” hand signal – and rightly called it out for being ridiculous.

Heartwood USA takes that tactic to heart. Sometimes, with bullies, explaining to them where their thought process has gone off the rails doesn’t work. Maybe the bully isn’t capable of being thoughtful. Maybe he doesn’t want to be. And a good way to fight back is to simply show how ridiculous he’s being.

Lastly, I wanted to say we’re still learning and growing. One possible takeaway from this friend is that we should look at including a concrete “action” item at the end of each video.

Keep your thoughts and comments coming.

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