Want to Get a Kid’s Attention? Talk about poo!
By Sean McConnell
Recently, my colleague Katie Mears and I were invited to make a presentation to the Gooden School, an Episcopal school in Sierra Madre, California. Gooden is a K-8 school, and I started wondering how we could possibly hold the attention of children who are as young as five and as old as fourteen. As the father of a seven-year-old daughter and a thirteen-year-old son, I know what a challenge it can be to captivate them both at the same time. So, a couple of weeks before the visit to Gooden, I stood up and loudly asked my colleagues, “Does anyone have any ideas about what I should say to a gathering of elementary and middle school kids?” Without losing a beat, my colleague Faith said rather matter-of-factly, “Kids love poo.”
If you knew Faith the way that we, her coworkers, know her, you would find this surprising too. I think I looked gob-smacked.
“Wha…?” I said. “Did you say POO?”
“Yes,” she replied. “Kids love bathroom humor and they will all be interested if you tell them about our work with latrines, hygiene and sanitation.”
She then showed me our short video about how Episcopal Relief & Development partners with El Porvenir in Nicaragua to improve sanitation and hygiene by digging double-hole latrines and setting-up hand washing stations. She also pointed me to the story of a Haitianschoolgirl named Maryline who learns about hand washing in school and goes home to encourage her father to wash his hands before eating.
Faith reminded me that Episcopal Relief & Development’s work in sanitation and hygiene has great lessons for kids and that I would get to talk about poo.
Well, I did what Faith recommended and kids from kindergarten through eighth grade laughed and asked questions and walked away knowing that Episcopal Relief & Development is working in the world to make sure that all kids and families have the same access to the clean and sanitary conditions that they themselves enjoy. And that’s no poo!
Photos: Top, Children of Nicaragua sitting in front of a latrine. Bottom, Maryline washing her hands.