Before the Internet replaced most physical newspapers in the home, children (and many adults) eagerly awaited each day’s page of comics for a little entertainment. From 1985 to 1995, one of the most popular comic strips in print was calvin and hobbes by Bill Watterson. This strip follows the adventures of 6-year-old Calvin, his toy/pet tiger Hobbes, and his family and friends.
calvin and hobbes provided readers with plenty of laughs over the years. However, what really set him apart was his ability to include real life lessons and heartwarming moments in between the laughs. Many of the most important lessons readers learned from the comic were about love, whether it be the reluctant childhood crush between Calvin and Susie, the friendship between Calvin and his best friend Hobbes, or the love between Calvin and his parents. .
10/10 Calvin learns that television is not a good source of romantic advice.
Calvin is at an age where he is curious about the world and, in particular, things that seem obscene or forbidden by his parents. He’s also not shy about his love for television. He often asks his parents to rent a VCR and age-inappropriate videos for him, though he doesn’t really seem to understand what they contain.
In various strips over the years, Calvin ends up getting romantic advice from TV shows. In one, Calvin was sick in bed and watched soap operas during the day. He learned about petty negligees, extramarital affairs, and murder plots. In another, Calvin was watching television with his mother and complained at length about all the kissing. These strips certainly encouraged parents to think twice about what their children watch on television.
9/10 Hobbes teaches that nature is beautiful and precious.
Throughout the whole calvin and hobbes series, one of Calvin’s most common activities is running (or sledding, or taking a cart) through the woods near his home. These nature walks are often a backdrop for his philosophical debates with Hobbes, as he solves the kinds of questions about the world around him that baffle a young child.
Despite his youth, Calvin obviously has a deep appreciation for the magic and beauty of nature. In one strip, Calvin lamented that people were cutting down forests to build condominiums. In another, he found garbage in the woods and decided that maybe being a tiger is better than being a human. Hopefully, readers took these lessons to heart and were encouraged to respect and appreciate nature for themselves.
8/10 Susie deserves to be treated better
Susie is one of Calvin’s classmates and his first tentative romantic crush. As a six year old, Calvin doesn’t really understand relationships and his dealings with Susie are usually pretty terrible. One minute Calvin will be playing nice with Susie, and the next he will start acting up and calling her names.
Calvin’s outward revulsion at the idea of spending time with a girl, let alone kissing her, is quite normal for someone his age, particularly in the era in which this comic was published. Watterson, however, also focuses on how these interactions make Susie feel, with multiple strips showing how upset and lonely she feels after Calvin lashed out and ran away from her. These strips helped children learn about empathy and the effect their bad words can have on others.
7/10 Not all romantic advice is the same
On many occasions over the years, Calvin pondered girls and relationships, and Hobbes chimed in with advice. Unlike Calvin’s outward disgust, Hobbes often acted enthusiastic around girls, expressing a desire to attract “babies” and get “kisses”.
Hobbes is, of course, a stuffed toy that only appears as a real, interactive creature to Calvin himself. Presumably, Hobbes’s voice comes from Calvin’s own mind, and he expresses thoughts that Calvin might be struggling with. In these situations, Hobbes gave voice to Calvin’s romantic feelings, which he was not yet mature enough to acknowledge. Hobbes’s open-mindedness is good, but he was still expressing the thoughts of a six-year-old, and therefore his advice, while often more compassionate than Calvin’s, was seldom entirely correct.
6/10 Calvin learns that no one knows how to pamper like a mom.
Like many rambunctious children, Calvin sometimes has a contentious relationship with his mother. He complains about what she cooks for dinner, looks for loopholes in her rules, and sometimes yells that she’s being mean. However, despite these conflicts, it is very clear that both Calvin and his mother love each other very much.
Once, while arguing with his babysitter, Calvin shouted how much his mother loved him. When her mom was sick, Calvin tried to help her and lamented how hard it is to be her mom. After Calvin had been playing outside in the snow, his mom brought him chocolate and snacks, and he sat up and was appreciative of how she was pampering him. Despite superficial arguments, the two obviously love and appreciate each other.
5/10 Calvin learns that wild animals deserve admiration and respect.
Calvin loves wild animals. He thinks of Hobbes as a wild tiger. When he found a sick raccoon, he scrambled for help and tried to revive it. After his father fished while camping, Calvin was surprised to learn about “cleaning” the fish and ordered grilled cheese instead. After catching a butterfly, he decided to set it free instead of holding it captive.
Calvin often struggles in his relationships with people, thanks to his lack of maturity and active imagination. With animals, however, it’s easier for him to show his inherent kindness and compassion without worrying about looking silly. His love for animals shows that he has a big heart, and once he matures a bit, he’ll hopefully be able to work that into his human relationships as well.
4/10 Calvin realizes that time with loved ones is important
Calvin is rebellious by nature and struggles with his parents’ rules. It’s no wonder then that he often clashes with his father. He interrupts his dad’s work, gives unflattering “poll” updates on his performance, and locks up his dad’s car with snowmen and forts. The two are constantly bumping into each other.
Despite these clashes, it is still obvious that the two love and respect each other. Calvin’s love of nature comes from his father, who loves taking the family camping and fishing. His father adapts bedtime stories to try to fulfill Calvin’s wishes. Perhaps most importantly, Calvin’s father took time off work on multiple occasions just so he could spend more time playing with his son, setting a great example for readers about priorities.
3/10 Calvin & Hobbes have good role models
Although Calvin is clearly not ready for mature romantic relationships at 6 years old, he has a great example to follow once he is older. Calvin’s parents have a strong and respectful marriage and often show their love for both each other and their son.
Calvin’s parents are often shown arguing or making sarcastic comments, usually as a result of something Calvin has done. When things get serious, the two are there for each other. After their house was robbed, the two comforted each other in bed. They made time to date together, even though finding a babysitter for Calvin was difficult. They can make jokes about whether they should have had children, but when one needs the other, they can always trust their partner.
2/10 Good friends love and support each other
Calvin’s favorite person in the world is his best friend Hobbes. Although everyone else sees Hobbes as a toy, for Calvin, Hobbes is a living creature who is always ready for adventure. Hobbes also gives Calvin advice, which is generally more mature than Calvin’s natural tendencies.
Because Hobbes is Calvin’s stuffed tiger, his personality is actually part of Calvin’s. His voice comes from Calvin’s subconscious, providing a kinder, more mature vision that Calvin may be struggling to articulate for himself. While Hobbes may not be real, Calvin’s love for him certainly is. When something bad happens to Hobbes, Calvin can’t relax until he knows Hobbes is okay. As he gets older, hopefully Calvin will be able to show the same care for the humans around him.
1/10 Calvin’s family surrounds him with love
Calvin can be very bad, but he has a good heart. Also, his parents complain about his behavior, but they love him deeply. His parents also extend their love for Calvin to the things he loves, especially Hobbes, even though Hobbes is just a toy to them.
Superficial bickering aside, Calvin’s family is always modeling love for their readers. The group goes on family vacations every year and spends time doing things together. When the family faces difficulties like a robbery, they find strength and comfort in each other. And whenever one member of the family needs something, even Hobbes, the others provide help and support. Anyone would be lucky to feel the love that Calvin’s family obviously has for each other.
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