5 Cartoons That Have Taught Me Important Life Lessons

Cartoons are not just for children, as many of them contain deeper meanings hidden behind the silly, childish facade they put on. That is what makes them so great! You can enjoy their fun quality while also gaining a deeper understanding about yourself and the world. Here are five cartoons that truly changed my life and helped shape me into the person I am today:

1. Over The Garden Wall

The story follows two half-brothers, Wirt and Greg, as they try to find their way back home after getting lost in a foreboding forest called the Unknown. The older brother, Wirt, is preoccupied with his own inner turmoil for most of the show, while the ever-curious Greg is constantly getting them into strange situations with various characters who live in the Unknown. The show is abundant with strange creatures, animals and beings who all warn Wirt and Greg about the Beast, who is notorious for feasting on lost souls. This show is truly a mind-trip. I did not fully understand what was happening until the very last episode, but that’s what made it so much fun. This series is quite short—only one season with ten ten-minute episodes—so it’s an easy watch.

Over the Garden Wall has taught me many things, but the biggest message I took away was to never lose hope, no matter how bad things may be in the moment. Life will throw a myriad of trials and tribulations your way, but it is up to you to face them and overcome them instead of giving up. If Wirt and Greg could make it through the Unknown and defeat the Beast, you can too. Just remember to always stay hopeful because there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

2. Steven Universe

This ongoing Cartoon Network series is about a team of magical beings from another planet, known as the Crystal Gems, who came to Earth to protect it from other evil gems wishing to turn it into a weapon of mass destruction. The Crystal Gemsis composed of Pearl, Garnet, Amethyst (each named after their respective gem), and a half-gem half-human hybrid named Steven Universe. Steven, although not as smart or as powerful as the other gems, accompanies them in magical quests to help keep the earth safe from monsters and corrupt gems. 

If this show has taught me anything, it is definitely acceptance and love. Steven’s character is the epitome of unconditional love. He treats every person, gem and creature he meets with respect and compassion, just as his mother did. There are many moments in the show where he stands up to defend someone or something that the rest of the Crystal Gems deem evil and unredeemable, and as a result, he saves them and helps them find themselves. Steven is truly someone who we can look up to and aspire to be.

3. Adventure Time

This cartoon centers on the life of two best friends, Finn the Human and Jake the Dog, who explore the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo and help out different characters that they meet along the way, including BMO, Princess Bubblegum, Marceline the Vampire Queen, Flame Princess, Ice King and Lumpy Space Princess. This duo fights for what is right and will stop at nothing to bring evil to justice.

This cartoon is one of my all-time favorites and will forever hold a special place in my heart. Adventure Time has taught me to always stand strong in my morals, especially when they are being tested by the people and events around me. Finn is someone who always stays true to himself and will fight for what he believes in until the end. He is tested many times throughout the series with different situations that make him question himself and what he stands for, but he ultimately overcomes these trials and follows his heart. We can all learn from Finn to stand up for ourselves and never forget who we are and what we believe in.

4. Hilda

Hilda is a young girl who is forced to relocate to the city after her house in the woods gets crushed by giants. She is very hesitant to the change at first, claiming that Trolberg will never compare to life in the wilderness, but she soon discovers that there might be more to the city life than she thought.

This show has taught me to always be open-minded to trying new things and experiences because life is all about discovery. Hilda is a free spirit who loves going on adventures and exploring life and everything the world has to offer. I can be quite introverted at times and afraid of exposing myself to new people or experiences, but this series has shown me that there is nothing to be afraid of and that change can actually be a good thing.

5. We Bare Bears

This cartoon is about the lives of three brother bears—Grizzly, Panda and Ice Bear—and their struggle of trying to fit into civilized society. They have many interesting and strange adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area, and they accumulate friends as they learn new things at every turn.

The three bear siblings go through many struggles, but they do it together and help each other with their problems. I have three younger sisters, so the bears’ relationship can be too relatable at times for me. This show has taught me to appreciate my siblings (and all of my family members for that matter) because your family will always be there for you no matter what. You have to show them you care and love them while they’re still here.