A staple of the 1990s, the Hey Arnold cartoon might have been aimed at elementary school kids, but the episodes' messages were inspiring enough to hit people of all ages in the feels.
1. You Need To DTR (Determine the Relationship)
Do you like me, or do you like me like me? This is very important.
2. Love Is Complicated
Helga G. Pataki hates Arnold's guts and yet she builds a shrine for him in her closet. Being in love doesn't always make you feel on top of the world. Especially if you're in unrequited love, you can have very mixed emotions about the object of your affections. Our emotions aren't clear-cut; we can feel two very different extremes (love and hate) at the same time. And that's what makes us human.
3. Popularity Is Overrated
People are more than just "cool kids" or "geeks." And honestly, a party is way more fun when you get everyone involved.
4. Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide
The one time Arnold did the "wrong thing" (i.e. - play hookey from school), it ended up biting him in the butt. He skipped school to be a rebel and walk the "darker side" of life (haha). But in the end, he didn't have any fun, and ended up missing out on the school carnival! Honesty, integrity, "doing the right thing" - these aren't always easy, or fun, but in the end, they're worth upholding.
5. Appreciate The Family You Have
Arnold had a diverse friend group made up of different ethnicities, races and social classes, yet not a single one had the "perfect American family." Arnold was raised by his grandparents, and never knew his mother or father. Helga's mother was an alcoholic and her father was a workaholic. But even though their home lives weren't always ideal, all the families clearly loved each other and supported each other. And that's what matters.
6. Face Your Fears
"Stoop kid's afraid to leave his stoop." It's terrifying jumping out of your comfort zone, but if you don't take that leap, you'll never see the world.
7. War Affects Us All
8. You Need To Believe in People
Even when they don't deserve it. Arnold tried interviewing his favorite author, Agatha Caulfield, but Agatha turned out to be a really nasty old recluse who didn't like children. For whatever reason, Agatha stopped believing in the inspiring tales she used to write, and so eventually stopped writing altogether. Even though Agatha yelled at Arnold and (I quote) "treated him like a dog," Arnold insisted that she was still his favorite author, and told her he still believed in her writing. At the end of the episode, Agatha writes a new book; she would have never had the courage or confidence to write if it wasn't for Arnold. Think of all the amazing things we could accomplish if we responded to discouragement like Arnold did.
9. Have Your Own Sense of Style
10. You Need To Look On The Bright Side.
Arnold is an eternal optimist. Gerald, his best friend and voice of doubt/reason, is usually the first to tell Arnold his idealistic dreams are crazy. But it's because of his sunny attitude that Arnold is able to stand up to bullies, restore friendships, help out even the adults in the show, and eventually save the neighborhood from the evil Von Scheck. So even if its not sensible, see the best in people. Even if its not practical, do the right thing.
These are just a handful of the many life lessons Hey Arnold! has to offer. If you have any quotes or quips from Hey Arnold you'd like to share, comment below!