Cartoons for kids these days are horrible. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older, but seriously, I can’t bear the pain of sitting down and having to watch Dora, Umizoomi, Bubbleguppies, or any of the mind-numbing shows on t.v. now. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that these shows are teaching my kids basic math, colors, and shapes, but what about important life lessons?
Back in the day, us kids didn’t learn about colors and shapes from the television, that’s what school was for. Our cartoons contained valuable life lessons (mixed with a little violence) that would help shape us into the people we are today.
Great Reason To Have Kids #21: Sharing the cartoons you grew up on. Thanks to the local library, I’ve been able to check out pretty much every series I watched as a kid. Here are some of the best cartoons from my era and the valuable life lessons they teach.
Each episode of cops would end with a public-service announcement directed at kids. We learned that drugs and gangs were bad, and we were taught important safety issues like “Don’t take candy from strangers”. Plus, we also picked up cool taglines like, “It’s crime-fighting time” and “Crime’s a wasting”. It worked well for introducing children to officers, but it lands the #10 spot because later in life you realize that 90 percent of the shows on t.v. are cop-related. The other ten are lawyer and doctor based.
While we didn’t learn any numbers or silly songs, Beetlejuice taught us one of the most important lessons of all. Love and friendship knows no bounds. Love sees through skin color, religion, and state of existence.
#8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Until they came around, turtles were nothing but boring, slow reptiles that were constantly ridiculed by their faster, hairier antagonists. The heroes in a half-shell taught us to think outside the box. It gave us earth-shattering ideas like, ‘Turtles can be quick and dangerous’ and my personal favorite, ‘Ice cream tastes great on pizza’. I never did understand the mask thing though. It’s not like they had day jobs at the local newspaper and needed to conceal their true identities.
I believe Transformers is the reason many people are cross-country drivers today. What kid didn’t want his own Optimus Prime to cruise around in? So, thank you super robot life forms for helping contribute to a strong American work force.
#6. G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe was about more than just standing up for justice and fighting terrorists. It operated on a more subliminal level, but it dealt heavily with social issues. It’s been awhile since I’ve watched it, but I’m pretty sure the screen shot above was from their ground-breaking “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” episode.
#5. Batman: The Animated Series
For the longest time, we had to watch cartoons about superheroes with special powers. We could only sit back and daydream about the ability to shoot fire from our finger tips or fly. Most of us young boys spent a lot of time wishing for x-ray vision. Batman taught us that you didn’t need any super-powers to be a hero. All you needed was money. Lots and lots of money.
#4. Tiny Toon Adventures
Tiny Toon Adventures was basically Saturday Night Live for kids. It engaged us with the world around us. It was full of political parodies, pop music, and fake news reports. If you were one of those kids that had to watch the evening news with your parents, you probably enjoyed this cartoon more. If not, it was still funny and had cartoon violence.
Learned about the epic battle between good and evil as well as how to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Good guys could shoot lasers out of their eyes and bad guys were magnetic. It also taught us kids that even people in wheel-chairs could be heros…as long as they use their telepathy for good.
Basically the same as Tiny Toon Adventures, but with more of an emphasis on child development. For example, their “Good Idea, Bad Idea” segment gave us kids guidance and wisdom that we might not otherwise have received. Such as, Good Idea = whistling while you work, Bad Idea = whistling while you eat.
#1. The “Real” Ghostbusters
That’s right. The “Real” Ghostbusters. Not those fake poser ghostbusters Filmation was pushing. It taught me to “not be afraid of no ghosts”. It seems like a small life-lesson now, but there is probably no greater lesson that a young 8-year old child could learn. At a time when ghosts, goblins, and boogey-
people were a serious threat to be concerned about, Egon, Peter, Winston, and Ray alleviated my childhood fears. They gave me hope, strength, and a wide variety of action figures to keep my mind off the ghoulies in my closet.