10 Best Life Lessons Calvin & Hobbes Taught Us

Calvin & Hobbes is one of those rare gems in entertainment that comes once in a blue moon. Created by Bill Watterson, the strip told the adventures of six-year-old Calvin and his talking stuffed tiger Hobbes as they traversed through life, getting into trouble and learning about the world around them. Though the series ended in 1995, the comic has a giant cult following, with new readers coming on board yearly.


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And it’s no surprise why. The series, though focused on a child’s imagination, is steeped in deep conversations and social commentary meant for a wide audience. The lessons Watterson taught using his characters were indeed groundbreaking, and they still ring true to this day.

10 The Little Things Have The Biggest Impacts

In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin enjoys dreaming big, looking at all manner of possibilities, and seeing the world as his own personal sandbox. On the other hand, Hobbes prefers the simple and ordinary, preferring a nice place to sleep or just a sandwich. While this aggravates Calvin, it teaches the readers about the importance of humility.

In the fast-paced rat race of life, it’s important to slow down and appreciate the world. People take things for granted that creatures, such as pets, greatly enjoy, like a good meal or a relaxing walk. In this way, humans can learn from Hobbes and enjoy the small things once in a while.

9 Friends Can Have Different Opinions

Friendships are usually formed around people finding certain topics they can mutually agree on. However, like most friendships, it’s common to have views and outlooks that may vary from person to person. Calvin and Hobbes represents this form of friendship best, with Calvin’s more bombastic and egotistical nature differing from the more easy-going Hobbes.

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Even if Calvin and Hobbes seem different and have distinct points of view, they don’t allow their differences to affect their friendship. Instead, they learn from one another, growing as characters and seeing the world anew. Understanding another person’s perspective keeps strong friendships honest and shows people that individuals of all kinds can live in harmony together.

8 Try Something New

For most readers, Calvin and Hobbes represented the joys of childhood. As a child, one could say the world was more open and filled with possibilities before the burden of adulthood ushered readers into the modern realm. However, what Watterson was trying to convey was that, even as an adult, it’s not too late to have fun.

Getting older doesn’t mean having to stay with the same boring routine every day. Instead, set new goals and aspirations. Go to new places and strange locations. Explore activities and hobbies. Every day should hold exciting adventures that encourage growth and freedom, testing one’s capabilities and bringing about new journeys on the road of life.

7 Life Is Filled With Success And Failure

Calvin & Hobbes enjoyed focusing on Calvin’s various ups and downs. How at one moment, he felt that he was on top of the world after creating a device that worked (in his imagination), to seeing the downside of the experiment going haywire. Yet through all the failures in his young life, Calvin’s persist and determined nature gave the character charm where others have failed.

This could be attributed to how readers see themselves in Calvin. One second, achievement and goals have been reached and satisfaction is at hand. And then there are moments of tragedy and great sadness that befall everyone. It’s only a matter of learning from one’s mistakes and staying driven to one’s dreams that allow for future success to come through.

6 Change Is Avoidable

One of the few guarantees all humans deal with is the fact that change is coming. From new experiences and journeys to gaining and losing people along the way, nothing is immune to the passing seasons. But this fact shouldn’t make people afraid of change.

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Calvin and Hobbes had to learn this fact, going through each new season with both good and bad circumstances. Change should be celebrated rather than hated. Sure, people will miss things and friendships from the past, but life always brings new adventures and compatriots to venture with through new times. And even when times and hard and troubling, be reassured that this too shall pass.

5 Appreciate The Environment

While Calvin & Hobbes dealt with innovation and creativity, Watterson didn’t shy away from talking about the reality of nature. These talks came about either through Calvin and Hobbes playing outside together or walking through the forest outside their home. Through these encounters, they would bring up the relationship between man and Earth, from pollution to future advancements.

The duo would come to grips with the importance of the co-existence of technology and nature. How even though mankind seeks to use machinery and fossil fuels to make life easier, one must respect and take care of the environment and all the creatures that live in it. Hopefully, mankind retains this lesson before it’s too late.

4 You Don’t Have All The Answers

Readers understand that in life, there will always be people smarter than them. But on occasion, readers can also recognize that, as humans, they can mess up, either by insufficient facts or unforeseen evidence. These rings true throughout the series, especially with its main protagonist.

Calvin, though six, acts like a cocky adult who thinks he has all the answers in life, and if people listen to him, their lives (mostly his) will be perfect. Sadly, whenever he tries to prove any of his theories and his genius intellect, he tends to backfire on him, resulting in embarrassing and sometimes chaotic masses. Goes to show that pride comes before the fall (or in this case, the pratfall).

3 Live For The Moment

It’s no secret that growing up brings many stipulations. Maturity often comes with more daily struggles, such as anxieties and responsibilities. However, in chasing these daily goals and carrying doubts about what tomorrow brings, people can often overlook the gifts of the present.

Calvin and Hobbes had dreams of the future, but they didn’t dwell on them. Instead, they treated each day differently from the one before, not taking for granted the time they spent with one another. Each new adventure brought with it new challenges and new experiences that helped build their friendship and change their perspective on life. The past is gone, and the future hasn’t been written yet, so always move forward by living for the now.

2 Escape Into Your Imagination Once In A While

One of the reasons Calvin and Hobbes stood out was due in part to Calvin’s creative fantasies. Fans enjoyed the outlandish worlds built around Calvin’s imagination, from pretending to be a dinosaur to his intergalactic adventures as Flash Gordon parody Spaceman Spiff. These parts drew upon what many people wish they could have.

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Sadly though, readers have to eventually come back to reality, dealing with the mundane. However, this doesn’t mean people need to turn off their imagination. Some of the greatest inventions and theories were derived from adults using their imaginations in an effort to make a better world. Imagination helps create new goals for humanity, influencing creativity and reaching new heights never thought possible.

1 Love And Friendship Makes All The Difference

The most important lesson Watterson tried to teach readers with his characters was the power of friendship. Readers saw through Calvin the respect and love he gave to Hobbes, even though it wasn’t perfect. And readers saw how Hobbes, though imaginary, always stuck by Calvin through thick and thin.

This is something that many people strive for. Sure wealth, status, and comfort are immeasurable goals, but these things don’t last long in life. What does persevere is the power of love, from both family and close friends. And as long as readers have them, they will have all they ever needed.

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