If you’re looking for a documentary that all kids should see, it won’t be the one you’re thinking. It won’t be about wildlife or nature or saving the Earth (although we love those in our family). But it is a documentary that will make them think. Here’s why.
Today is an important day in the Nally family. My husband starts a new job. My son goes back to school. And I’ll be heading into the office for some contract work. The lazy days of summer are officially over.
On one hand, I’m so sad that our carefree mornings and weekly “field trips” and many matinees over the summer are coming to an end. On the other hand, I’m relieved that I won’t have to listen to back-to-back-to-back episodes of Lab Rats, Spider-Man, and any other show intended for the 10 and under crowd. I get to TAKE BACK MY TV AND MY NETFLIX!
I sometimes forget that I have the power to do that but it’s tough in our household. Most shows seem to be targeted for kids or for adults long after the kids have gone to bed. So we can’t always find something appropriate for all of us to watch. Instead, I’ll hop on my computer and my husband does the same as we listen to those goshdarned kids shows in the background.
One afternoon over the summer, I’d had enough. It was early evening and the TV was off. I grabbed the remotes and the household seemed to stop. Mommy was going to watch TV. Yes, I wasn’t going to ask permission or take a poll on what to watch. I was just going to do it. And I decided to turn on a documentary that had floated past my Netflix queue, although I can’t really remember when or why. And I decided, without any announcement, to turn it on.
The documentary is called On the Way to School and is described on Netflix as such:
In this inspiring documentary, four children from disparate environments around the globe face daunting challenges as they make their way to school.
After reading the description, I thought it might be interesting but I also thought it might give Evan a little more of the global perspective I so desperately want him to have. But if you have kids, you know that the minute you want them to sit and watch something with a message, it instantly becomes a burden to watch TV.
So instead, I simply turned it on, started watching, and said nothing to the rest of the family. Within minutes both my husband and son had plopped down on the couch and were engrossed in the film.
In it, we watched children in Kenya, India, Morocco, and Argentina take their daily commute to reach their place of learning. There was never an overt message about the importance of education or how “lucky” we are in the United States. The film was merely on observation of the children, their parents, and the difficult route each must willingly take to reach their school.
Unlike many other documentaries, there was no narration. There was no one telling us how to feel or casting emotion over what we were observing. We were simply observing. And as it turns out, that was more powerful that I could have imagined.
Rated TV-G, this film is suitable for all children but is probably best for school-aged kids who might be able to gain perspective from the film. And with beautiful scenery and a short running time of 1 hour and 17 minutes, my son’s attention didn’t really waver.
If you’re looking for something a little different on Netflix (although the documentaries are typically my favorites – right after the Netflix original series), try turning this on one day and see if the back to school complaining eases up just a bit. It’s truly a documentary that all kids should see.
This post was written as part of my role on the Netflix Stream Team. Topics, selections, and all opinions are my own.
Can’t find it on Netflix? Be sure to check out JustWatch, a streaming search engine, to find out where to watch it.