10 Lessons Kids Can Learn from Rudy Davis

Rudy Davis is the smooth-talking, dapper smart aleck of the group in Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids, a cartoon series created by Bill Cosby. The banjo player in the gang’s junkyard band, Rudy sometimes lets his mouth get him in trouble, though he’s basically a  good soul. Kids can learn a few lessons from Rudy, and here’s a list of ten of them:

  1. Let the law do its job instead of fighting. Rudy learns to trust the justice system, and wins a bike race in the process when his bike is run over by a careless motorist. Kids can learn how the system works and to avoid confrontations, by letting the law work for them.
  2. Look after your neighbors and your community. Rudy helps bring burglars to justice when he and Albert witness suspicious activity in their neighborhood. Kids can learn the value in being alert, watchful, and not to take action on their own when they see something or someone suspicious.
  3. Teamwork vs. Individuality. Rudy takes the reins in the production of a film, and intends to embarrass the cast in a speech when their efforts fail to impress him. Before he gets the chance to humiliate them in front of the audience, their film wins the festival award, and he is himself humbled by the cast.
  4. Appearances can be misleading. When circumstantial evidence points to an ex-con who had helped the gang, Rudy and Bucky look past all that and set up a sting to catch the real guilty parties who robbed their gym. A lesson in friendship, integrity, and looking beneath the surface.
  5. Choose your friends wisely.  A friend of Rudy’s entices the gang into joining him for a joy ride in a car that turns out to be stolen. Rudy and the gang learn a lesson in running with the wrong crowd.
  6. Diversity and inclusion versus intolerance and prejudice.  Rudy makes fun of Rosita, an Hispanic student whose English is not very good. A school project that invites students to examine their own heritage helps the gang appreciate Hispanic history and, ultimately, Rosita.
  7. Ignorance can cost lives.  Rudy chooses not to get CPR training, only to be confronted with an emergency where CPR is needed to treat a heart attack victim. Rudy learns the hard way that a life may depend on one person’s ability to intervene, and you may be that person.
  8. Staying in school is the smart move.  Rudy decides to drop out, only to meet a local bum who tells his tale to Rudy and convinces him to go back to school. Rudy realizes that a good education is all that stands between him and the homeless man’s fate.
  9. Cultural appreciation and acceptance. Rudy teases one of his classmates about his poetry, but Albert encourages Richard to pursue his art. Rudy again discovers that his arrogance and big mouth have landed him in an embarrassing place, and must relent in his ridicule.
  10. Abusing a friendship for personal gain is wrong. Rudy’s friend Joyce holds the key to his big  movie break. Her dad is a movie producer, but Rudy has to choose between his dream and his friendship.  Kids can learn that friendship should not be conditional or abused for one’s own purpose.