Life lessons from a stuffed tiger


For as much as I voraciously read the written word via novels and short stories,  the true expression of human (and stuffed tiger) nature can be authentically represented in the cartoon series Calvin and Hobbes.  In a few well-constructed lines of  illustration, a precocious 5-year old child with the sharp wit and mental fortitude of an adult can sum up what I strive to achieve in five or more paragraphs of sheer pontificating.

It’s okay to share your feelings.

It’s okay to have an opinion and stand behind it.

It’s okay to dance like nobody is watching.

It’s okay to stretch the boundaries of creativity and individuality to be your authentic self.

And most importantly, it is imperative that you take the time to enjoy your life.

The true mark of who we are as a person is determined by how much we put our full faith into everything that makes us who we are.  Not everyone will understand every nuance of our being but the cherished few who take the time to realize what makes us special carve that deep place into the recesses of our hearts and solidify their presence in our existence. We spend so much time worrying about what other people think, wasting those precious hours and minutes being concerned about other people’s opinions, instead of relying on our own opinion.

With a few shaded lines and some more-than-realistic dialogue,  the rich imagination of Bill Watterson seeped into the hearts and minds of many fans, leaving with them the curiosity and the keen sense of imagination that Calvin represents.  Inside all of us still lurks the wonder of our inner child, the honest feelings we are afraid to show and the sincere desire to be exactly who we are without putting up a false front.

Perhaps we need to create a new story line for ourselves.   Cartoons have the ability to be re-drawn until they portray the feeling of the illustrator.   Why can we not follow that same logic and erase the lines of our first drafts to accurately portray the character we truly want to be, illustrate our lives as we see them?

Be your own Calvin.  Don’t let your imagination be diminished by other’s realities.  Be true to yourself, stand by your opinions and embrace the relationships that you find important, even if others think that they are frivolous.  Hobbes is only a stuffed tiger to those who do not believe in the possibility of anything beyond their reality.

(All image credits to Bill Watterson)

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