Fatherly Stuff

Aug 4, 2014

Your Kids Will Learn about STEM (and Love It!) with Amazon Studio's Annedroids

How much thought have you given to the amount of STEM education that your child is receiving? As our world advances further into the 21st century, possessing knowledge in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is becoming increasingly important in order to actively compete on the world stage. Children tend to be precocious, curious and creative by nature. These qualities tend to go hand in hand with the fundamental concepts of STEM, so it is not a far-fetched idea to conclude that in order to get them interested at an early age, those innate qualities must somehow be tapped into. 

Amazon Studios seems to have found the perfect formula to accomplish this with their third original kids series, Annedroids, which is now available on Prime Instant Video.

Created by Emmy-nominated JJ Johnson (Dino Dan) and Sinking Ship Entertainment, and aimed at children aged four through seven, Annedroids is a live-action adventure series following a young female genius, her human friends, android assistants and the amazing scientific discoveries they make while undertaking the biggest experiment of them all: growing up.  Addison Holley (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) stars as “Anne,” Adrianna Di Liello (Stage Fright) plays her friend “Shania,” and Jadiel Dowlin plays “Nick.”

I was recently given the opportunity to review this show with my 5 year old and we found it to be an enjoyable experience. Annedroids centers around four primary characters:

Nick- The first character to be introduced in the show, not only was he very unhappy to be moving away from his best friend, he was less than thrilled at the prospect of living across the street from an old junkyard.  He soon discovers however, that the so called junkyard holds the key to more adventures and excitement than he could ever imagine. Something that I appreciated about this character is that he was cast as a person of color; a demographic that I feel is not represented on TV as much as it should be. Furthermore, while it is obvious that Nick’s mother is a single mom, her loving and caring presence is a subtle undertone that further adds to the show’s realism. 

Shania- She is Nick’s neighbor. The two words that best describe Shania would be: “comedic relief”. She is fun loving, enjoys rhythmic gymnastics, is allergic to rabbits (“booger central”) and is often getting herself and her friends into- and out of-and back into trouble. Her unapologetic, eccentric personality makes her a favorite of mine. Shania and her younger brother live with their grandmother, and that again is a reflection of the show’s efforts to recognize that families come in all shapes and sizes aside from the traditional, nuclear model. 

Anne- A young scientist, Anne is the creator of all of the androids on the show. She lives in the junkyard and once she is discovered by Nick and Shania, they all become fast friends as well as her assistants. As a scientist, Anne it always on the lookout for new and exciting discoveries and encourages her friends to do the same. As a female, this character has the potential to inspire an entire generation of girls to get interested in the STEM fields.

Pal- Created by Anne, Pal is an android (not a robot, there IS a difference!) who can walk, talk and think for itself. Almost infant-like in its thinking, Pal continuously develops from listening to others’ speech as well as from its surroundings. Pal is introduced as being neither male nor female and it is programmed to decide on its own which gender it will eventually lean to. This may be a stretch on my part, but that may be a veiled message about gender bias. If that is the case, I think that is pretty awesome!

Throughout the show, the characters (and viewers) learn about various scientific principals such as developing a hypothesis, observation/note taking, chemistry, mechanics, physics and critical thinking. They use all of these skills to turn problems into what Anne likes to call an, “engineering solution”.

As a parent, this show receives high marks from me due to its originality, diversity and its educational value. My 5 year old is definitely a fan too because lets face it; a walking talking android is just plain cool. 

Be sure to catch Annedroids exclusively on Amazon Prime.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Jul 17, 2014

Stuart Scott Discusses Fatherhood in an Emotional Speeh at the ESPYS

Last night's ESPY awards ceremony was a star studded event  that celebrated some of the greatest individual and team athletic achievements for the year. There were many great moments and many awards were handed out to the most deserving people, but the one that stood out to me the most was the speech that Stuart Scott delivered after winning the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.

Scott, a long time anchor for ESPN, has been battling a rare form of cancer since 2007. Instead of making excuses and allowing his illness hold him back, he has made the commitment to continue to live life to the fullest. During his speech, he credits his desire to be there for his two daughters for giving him the strength to fight on and endure rounds of surgeries and treatment.

The courage and humility that Mr. Scott has displayed throughout his ordeal is truly inspirational. It is a reminder to celebrate life and the people that are in it, each and every day.

The entire clip is approx. 15 minutes, but it is well worth your time. I can almost guarantee that anyone who watches this video cannot help but become a better human being afterward.

Jul 15, 2014

Out of Tragedy, Two Fathers Come Together

On Friday, May 24th, 22 year old Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree in Santa Barbara that injured 13 people and took the lives of 7 more, including his own by suicide. The aftermath of this tragic event added more fuel to the fire of a fierce, decades-long debate about mental illness and gun control that has once again been pushed to the forefront of the American consciousness.

From Columbine, to Sandy Hook and now to Santa Barbara, these horrific events continue to occur, yet because our nation is so polarized on the issues, that the effort from our political and business leaders to actually solve them is virtually non-existent. As a result, it seems as though no meaningful laws or regulations have been able to get passed.

But there's a sliver of hope. A few weeks after the event, Peter Rodger and Richard Martinez, the fathers of Elliot Rodger and one of his 20 year old victims, respectively, met with each other.

Photo Credit

Martinez gained notoriety due to his emotional outcry condemning gun violence, the inaction of our government and his desire to meet with Rodger:

"I've been told that the shooter's father has said he wanted to devote his life to making sure that doesn't happen again. I share that with him," Martinez said. "He's a father. I'm a father. He loved his son. I love my son. His son died. My son died."

While we don't know what conversation took place between these two fathers who seemingly formed a bond out of terrible circumstances, we can only hope that the end result will inspire our nation to finally enact change within our broken system that have so many fall through the cracks.