Robby Novak, the Kid President, is taking the Internet by storm with his YouTube ‘Pep Talk,’ combining sage advice, Robert Frost’s poetry, and some fantastic dance moves.
By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo
The Kid President’s motto: “Don’t be in a Party. Be a Party.”
His “Pep Talk” YouTube video has been taking social media sites by storm for the past week, and the message is simple: “The world needs you to stop being boring… Boring is easy.”
The adorable boy sending smiles around the world is Robby Novak of Henderson, Tenn., who has been posting videos on the SoulPancake YouTube channel since October with the help of his adult brother-in-law, Bradley Montague, the TodayNews website reports. Novak appeared on the “Today” show Wednesday.
SoulPancake, founded by Rainn Wilson of “The Office,” encourages people “to explore what it means to be human.”
Kid President’s take on that includes this comment from his video: “This is life, people. You got air coming through your nose. You got heartbeat. That means it’s time to do something!”
The video, in which Robby is dressed in a dark suit and red tie, weaves together humor, music, pithy philosophical comments, cute dance moves, poetry, and gentle reprimands to grownups.
After quoting from Robert Frost’s“The Road Not Taken,” he says, if there really were two paths, “I want to be on the one that leads to awesome.”
The video has had more than 6.4 million hits so far.
Among the people passing it around via Twitter were actor Nick Cannon; Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J.; and Kaya Henderson, chancellor of the District of Columbia public schools.
The Monitor checked in with a third-grade class at Smithfield Elementary School in North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to get their take on the video.
Students in Heather England’s class won the “If We Were President” contest by education-services company Pearson with a video of a song they wrote, “Vote Me Maybe,” inspired by the election season.
The Kid President’s video was“great” because it sends the message that “it doesn’t matter who you are, …it’s what’s inside that counts,”says Davis, one of the third-graders, in a phone interview.
“It encourages you and motivates you to do the right things,” adds his classmate Jada. “God made us for a reason …not just to sit around,” she said.
Robby reminds the students of Martin Luther King Jr., because he encourages people to work together, Ms. England says.
Robby’s video raises the question of what would happen if Michael Jordan had given up, and that really resonated with her students, she says. “They talked about, ‘On a test, what if I had given up? Last time I made a ‘B’ and I didn’t get upset, and now I have an‘A’,” she says.
The school shows an inspirational video each morning, and England was surprised this one hadn’t been shown schoolwide yet. The videos generate conversations and help students and adults alike stay motivated, she says.
“I wish more adults… had the mindset of kids,” England says.
She recently reinstated a practice she and her students did regularly in the month of November – starting the class by writing down what they are grateful for. “I don’t know who needs it more, me or the kids,” she says.
Robby has been praised by marketing experts for his savvy use of social media. But it doesn’t appear he’s angling to sell anything but encouragement (he does have one simple T-shirt for sale on his website, which is sponsored by his mom). At the end of the “Pep Talk” video he dedicates it to a young friend who is fighting cancer.
“Who encourages you?” he asks – urging viewers pass the video along to them to let them know.