What cartoons do you remember? What Disney or animated movie did you watch over and over and over again? Are you thinking about it? I know I am. Of course, by the 100th time, you could recite every line, right?
But it didn’t matter. You loved it anyway.
I recall early on Saturday mornings sneaking out of my room and trying to be as quiet as I could. My mom and dad’s bedroom was right next to the family room where the only TV in the house was, so being stealthy was of the utmost importance. I recall going out to the family room and watching Looney Tunes. I especially loved Bugs Bunny. I loved the way Bugs was super smart and sarcastic in his hijinks with the other characters. It made me laugh. I also loved Daffy Duck, especially when he and Bugs Bunny would go back and forth as to what hunting season it was, confusing poor Elmer Fudd, once again.
I never really got the Road Runner, though. I was probably overthinking it as a kid. But I recall thinking that if Wiley E. Coyote could afford a rocket from the ACME Corporation, why doesn’t he just buy dinner? But I guess that wasn’t the point of the cartoon.
Sometimes the Looney Tunes cartoon would begin with Bugs arriving in a new area as he tunneled underground. As he stuck his head out of the rabbit hole and spread out his map (he always had a map by the way), he would survey his surroundings and say, “Hmm I knew I should have taken that left at Albuquerque.”
Because we were all on some version of lockdown or quarantine for two long years, I began to rewatch some of my favorites. They made me happy. For just a few moments, I was transported back to a happier and simpler time. It was a time when my most profound worry was how Bugs was going to outsmart Yosemite Sam.
Sometimes it feels good to be a kid again. I think you would probably agree. It feels good to go to a time when life was your backyard, your neighborhood and where you were going to ride your bike that day.
There were so many other cartoons I loved as a child. Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, Quick Draw McGraw, Fractured Fairy Tales, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and so many more.
As I write, I wonder why cartoons were so much a part of our lives as children? And why children, even today, love cartoons. The first benefit that comes to mind is that cartoons help us to escape the stress of everyday life. It’s tough being an adult sometimes, as you and I both know.
Cartoons have a way to clear out our minds. They make us smile. All of life’s problems are resolved in 10 minutes, or half an hour for your favorite animated movie. No matter what the dilemma or problem, it all worked out in the end. Cartoon characters also have a unique and creative way they solve problems. It’s not so simple in the adult world.
According to research, cartoons have a way of helping us cope. They help us decompress and anatomize a complex world. Cartoons offer something for everyone, no matter what our age.
For many issues we face in life — such as COVID, disease, mental health, school, family and even deaths of those close to us — cartoons are a way to give ourselves a pleasant and peaceful retreat from all that ails us. They help to rest our minds. They make us laugh. They ground us once again.
So, rewatch your favorite cartoon, animation or a Disney movie. You know which one, right? The one you’ve seen 100 or perhaps 1,000 times. The one your parents would play for you because you loved it so. If you don’t have it, buy it or watch it on YouTube.
As you watch, close your eyes and remember how it felt as a child. Remember how it felt to have things all work out in the end.
Life is kind of like that — things usually do work out in the end.
It’s not childish to watch cartoons. It’s therapeutic. So go ahead and be a child again. Immerse yourself in a world where things work out in the end. You’ll be glad you did.
Richard Stride is the current CEO of Cascade Community Healthcare. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.