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Dear Badger – How do I reach these kids?

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Dear Wise Badger,
I’m in the business of communicating daily with 125 or so pre-teens and teenagers and 20 or so adults. Every day I feel like a broken record. Even using various communication platforms, I seem to run into the same problem each week. As of late I find my communication to be a one way street as I receive little to no response to those I am attempting to reach. Please assist.

Sincerely, Lost in Translation

Dear Lost in Translation,

Badgers struggle with social situations, so I’m going to do my best here in giving you advice. My first instinct is to bite for attention and sure the bite might work initially, but that creature isn’t going to come back to me for advice. That creature will probably never come back. Or I eat the creature if it does come back… I think humans are the same in some ways. I’ve seen a bunch of smaller humans throwing things and acting wild (and I know wild) when a larger human is trying to stop them by barking orders. A lesson in futility.

Recently, I was eating a magpie in some sagebrush, and I saw a mama bear encouraging her cub to cross a creek. Not a big deal, right? Just cross the creek, cub! But the cub was resisting and woofing back orders at mama bear. I know better than to cross a mama bear but she surprised me and gently nudged the cub toward the water instead of getting angry. I think anger is ineffective when it comes to getting little humans to do something. I think gentle nudging, like maybe a side conversation about being a good leader in a group setting, might be more effective in getting a small human to do something.

Next time you are in a situation where you feel like a salmon swimming upstream when trying to reach small humans, try a gentle nudge like a low voice while engaging in whatever activity they are trying to complete… even if it is a dumb phone game. Try to gently nudge the small human to be a leader for the room and show the others what you want them to do. Small humans’ brains are rapidly changing and they are breaking away from their parents by replacing them with their buddies. So if a buddy human is talking, they might just listen. If that doesn’t work, then you have my permission to eat them. Might be chewy.

When it comes to the various forms of communication, I, a woodland creature, am lost. But I do know that if my woodland friends left 100 ermines outside of my sett on my birthday, I wouldn’t have time to eat them all before they spoiled. I think it’s the same with texts and emails now. I heard a human talking about not checking emails or their phone for a day and they came back to hundreds of them! How do those messages not spoil? So maybe leave an ermine AND stop by later to make sure they know that your ermine, the important one, is the one to eat first.


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