What Arthur Taught Me

The animated PBS Kids show Arthur may ring a bell from our childhoods. I’m not going to lie, I just bought an Arthur tee to crop and I will still be the first to admit that I love that cartoon aardvark. I remember excitedly watching Arthur and his friends run through Elwood City and singing along to the theme song daily. Although I haven’t watched recently, there are a few things I can say Arthur taught me in my childhood years. 

Children inside Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

In the first episode, we see Arthur get glasses and get teased in school, getting called “four eyes”. In an effort to blend in, Arthur refuses to wear his glasses and struggles to see during the school day. However, after numerous mishaps at school, Arthur starts wearing his glasses again and his school performance improves, and at the end of the episode, his friend Francine who originally teased him even gets fake glasses. Through this, we learn to be accepting of the things that set us apart. Do things for yourself as there is no time to care about what others think. Even in the theme song, we hear the lyrics, “What a wonderful kind of day / If we can learn to work and play / And get along with each other”. Instead of teasing like Francine, getting along with others allows us to live in harmony. Being proud of what makes one different benefits you, and in turn, makes you more welcoming to others and open to what makes them different, ultimately fostering more warmth in the world. 

Vinícius Vieira ft via Pexels When Arthur and his friends meet Sue Ellen for the first time, they make up stories about where she came from and who she is, even calling her an “alien”. Shocked by snow and eating an American hotdog for the first time, Sue Ellen had lived in many different countries and as a result, had many unfamiliar experiences with Arthur and his friends. This episode teaches us the wonders of diversity and opens our scope to all the individuality in the world that we have to learn from. Although it is natural to be afraid of the unfamiliar, opening our hearts and minds to others has the ability to broaden mindsets and give us a more pluralistic viewpoint. Similarly, in the theme song, “And everybody that you meet / Has an original point of view”. Before every episode, this theme is further drilled into our heads, inviting us to experience the power that comes with exploring new things. Approaching others with this mindset enables personal growth while expanding your circle. 

Three people jumping joyfully on snowy day Photo by Zachary Nelson from Unsplash

These lessons, although drilled at a young age, still apply to our daily lives as college students. College truly gives us the freedom to do things for yourself. No one really cares about what you’re doing because most people are too busy doing their own thing to have time to judge. As we see in Arthur, paying attention to the judgment of others only detracts from your own happiness and success. Furthermore, in college, we are generally no longer confined to the familiarity of our hometown and are able to interact with people from all walks of life. This serves as an opportunity to develop new connections and learn from what others have to offer. Greeting this chance with the wrong mindset only sells yourself short of the potential for a more diversified, and in turn, fulfilling life.