Both my children love to watch Ninja Warrior. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it is a show produced in Japan and subtitled for broadcast in the U.S. Competitors take on a four-stage obstacle course, some of which are timed. It is very rare for any competitor to make it through all four stages successfully, most eliminated from the competition early on. My kids love the show, and I’m fine with that. Here’s why I think it’s a great show for kids, even though it is not marketed as a kids’ show.
- It demonstrates that you can try even if success is unlikely. Many people compete year after year, despite never completing all four stages. I hope my children see that success is not the only reason to do something.
- It encourages physical activity. Lots of kids shows try to encourage kids to move, dance, etc. None seem as successful as Ninja Warrior. After any episode, the living room or backyard is transformed into a Stage One obstacle course within moments. Both kids happily running and re-running their course.
- It shows you can be talented without being a jerk. The few competitors that win, or that progress much further than others are without exception humble and encouraging to other competitors. The feeling is one of all the competitors against the course, instead of one another. I find this an excellent analogy to most success in life.
- It shows people of different cultures. Not just because it is produced in Japan, but also because people from all over the world compete.
I wish more television was as good for children as Ninja Warrior is for my kids. Cultural exposure, physical activity, and positive role models are harder to come by than you might think.