At some 23 million views in eight months since its launch in October 2018, the ABC show ‘Bluey’, produced in Brisbane, is now the most watched program on ABC iView. Why so popular? Firstly, it is incredibly funny, good-natured, and genuinely relatable. Children adore it, and just as Seinfeld was a show about nothing, Bluey is about the ordinary interactions between parents and their children. Secondly, and more profoundly, it is making us better people. Each episode cuts through to the poignant moments on what matters to us all – the depth of our relationships. While this is a show for children and parents, it is deeply relevant to those without children as well: it is a show for each of us in our capacity as friends, family members, employees, and leaders. We recently came across an article by Leigh McBean about 4 reasons why the show captures the attention of children and parents so well, but also serve as shining examples of how we can improve our lives. Really? We kid you not! Read on about Bluey: Lessons on leadership and being a better person.
1. It teaches you to live in the present
In the beautiful episode ‘Takeaway’, things hilariously fall apart for Dad and his daughters while they are placing an order for food.
It is how Dad deals with these escalating moments of chaos – his good graces, his humour in the face of stress, and his final acquiesce to his daughter’s repeated requests to do a certain thing which make the episode so touching. As he eventually says ‘yes’ to his daughter he then lives completely in that moment with her. It is beautiful to watch.
It is a reminder to listen to the people around us, to take note of the trivial, and to engage with our full attention. As parents, or as leaders, it is crucial to remain calm, hold perspective, and ensure there are no distractions when we deal with those in our care.
2. It challenges the status quo and sets a great example of how we each can be
In all aspects of today’s society – whether it be the workforce, the household, in schools, or in politics, the breaking down of gender bias and dated stereotypes is crucial for our shared progress.
Bluey does this better than most shows currently on television.
It is a fantastic example of what families and corporate cultures can be like and aspire towards. The show perfectly:
- abolishes traditional gender roles. You do not know the daughters are girls – they are simply kids having fun;
- revolves primarily around the father as care provider for the children despite both he and his wife working. In an age where there is a strong push to reduce toxic masculine attitudes at home and at work, Bluey sets an example of what a balanced approach can be;
- creates an environment where children are taught to take calculated risks, and to learn about safety for themselves. They try things and fail. They try again. The parents are there in support, but often from a distance – instilling a responsible sense of confidence in these children as they learn their own boundaries;
- allows all family members to regularly display affection, love, and support for each other. Saying sorry when one’s at fault is also common (watch the episode ‘Fairies’ for a good example); and
- challenges the traditional stereotype of the bumbling father (or the ‘doofus dad’) depicted as the source of comic relief in other popular shows. Here, we have both a competent AND engaged father completely present in family life.
The first four points above are not just relevant for parents – they are attributes greatly needed within our corporate leaders, too. We need leaders who treat everyone equally, who provide safe environments for learning and growth, and who are confident enough to give praise and accept fault.
3. It creates genuine connections through everyday moments
The key for leaders building trust is to take a real interest in others and engage consistently in the “little things” which build over time.
It is about being present, reliable, and taking note of the small moments in life; about offering to help somebody, asking a question and truly listening to the answer; showing up and showing that you care.
Whether Bluey and her family are kinking a hose and squirting each other, dressing up in costume, or bursting into character, they regularly engage in unstructured and imaginative play.
They do so spontaneously and with thought for the other. They listen. They care. Just watch the episode ‘Magic Xylophone’.
Collectively, these little moments accumulate over the episodes into a bond that is forged through genuine shared experiences.
This is us as adults calling our friends; it is us listening more than we speak; it is us taking an interest in others. Shared experiences lead to shared conversations, and that leads to trust and connection. Something we all need more of in this modern world – at home, and at work. This is equally true for leaders wanting to build motivated, productive, and engaged workforces.
4. The mundane is important
In this world of instant gratification, it is easy to lose patience with the small things that take time, and to become frustrated with the less glamorous side of work.
No episode is better than teaching this lesson than ‘Swimming Pool’. In it Dad declares that “Mum is such a fusspot” and takes the two girls to the pool, ignoring her pleas to think ahead.
To his peril, the swimming outing becomes significantly less fun without a hat, towel, sunscreen, and snacks. When Mum arrives with those boring items the day becomes fun again.
Why this episode is so important, is that:
- it shows a prompt and open acknowledgement by Dad that Mum did save the day;
- it displays his genuine appreciation of her and the support she provides the family; and
- Dad openly recognises the importance of ‘boring things’.
All this in front of his children.
What a wonderful example to parents on how to interact with each other. What a wonderful lesson to children in showing them that the little, boring things in life are what make any endeavour worthwhile. What a wonderful reminder to us all as leaders and employees about the nature of work and the importance of persistence. And what a wonderful illustration of how to show appreciation to those who are important to us.
Separately, here are 3 more reasons why the show is simply delightful to watch in its own right
- Orchestral music plays regularly in the background of most episodes. Beautifully composed, it provides the perfect rise and fall to the show’s natural rhythms. Not only is it lovely to listen to but it’s introducing a generation of children to the joys of classical music in the same way Walt Disney did with his famous cartoons.
- The humour is hilarious. The adventures of the characters enthral children who watch it, while the parents’ witty banter appeals delightfully to adults.
- The deeply infectious sounds of children laughing bring back memories of childhood – reminding us there is an inner child within who loves to laugh with the people we care about.
At 7 minutes an episode, it delivers much more than you’d ever expect.
And in some small way, here at DGL we feel we are becoming better people each time we watch it.
The material and contents provided in this publication are informative in nature only. It is not intended to be advice and you should not act specifically on the basis of this information alone.
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