What Did You Learn From The Cartoons You Watched Growing Up?

The human brain grows rapidly from birth until the age of five, when it reaches 90 percent of its total lifetime size. During childhood, brains overproduce synapses enabling an astonishing neuroplasticity, as new pathways of thought and ability are formed. At six or seven years of age, children can undergo significant structural brain changes in just 15 months of practiced behavior, such as learning a musical instrument. Which explains how Elmer Fudd taught us all how to become opera singers and why children are so excellent at handling dynamite. On Wednesday, #CartoonsTaughtMe became the third most trending topic on Twitter in the United States.

The 1989 cartoon United Archives GmbH/Alamy

The trending hashtag became a platform for people to share the cartoons that shaped their lives and the enduring lessons that stuck with them, even as all those birthday party memories and the names of kindergarten classmates dribbled out of our ears and became forgotten.

#CartoonsTaughtMe that nobody will recognise you if you just walk around in furry pants. pic.twitter.com/ZpX4lOXk6N

— John Lane (@JohnFPLane) April 8, 2020

#CartoonsTaughtMe that you can defy the laws of physics right up to the moment you realize you are defying the laws of physics. pic.twitter.com/iE1SOsxES5

— Vote Gold 🗽🟡⚫️ (@ScottTrudell) April 8, 2020


You can survive anything as long as you have your bros with you pic.twitter.com/DNZLzoaoZo

— ʙᴇ Nikita⁷ # BLACKLIVESMATTER (@sgtcurrypants) April 8, 2020

#CartoonsTaughtMe how to flirt 😂 pic.twitter.com/21E952CxZy

— Natalia (@Nataliano_ooo) April 8, 2020

The cartoons appearing in #CartoonsTaughtMe tweets ranged across decades, with both 20th century and 21st century cartoons well represented. While most of this spread came from age disparities between the posters—there's a gulf of decades between those who grew up with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983-1985) and We Bare Bears (2015-present)—the trending hashtag was also loaded with classic cartoons that few Twitter users likely saw when they were first created. Popeye, for example, has been scarfing spinach since 1933, with a popular television series that ended in 1963. The most famous Tom and Jerry cartoons also hailed from the 1960s, while Daffy Duck beat up Hitler in 1943.

#CartoonsTaughtMe if I eat my spinach I’ll grow big and strong. pic.twitter.com/uVU5DTdRvo

— Karmin (@beingkarmin) April 8, 2020

A mouse can survive a lot. #CartoonsTaughtMe pic.twitter.com/UjPf09i7ao

— Mini T 🍷 (@MiniT46) April 8, 2020


Bugs might've gotten over on daffy a bunch of times, but bugs never flew into Germany and cracked Hitler like a boss pic.twitter.com/2Wl152JnDf

— Nero Wynn (@NeroWynn) April 8, 2020

#CartoonsTaughtMe how to make an entrance. pic.twitter.com/Fbq2obrD87

— 🧈MeltLikeButta🧈 (@JWButta) April 8, 2020

While many cartoonophiles are shared lessons pertinent to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, from most it was a respite from their shelter-in-place isolation, with the #CartoonsTaughtMe hashtag serving as a platform for lessons in sociability.

How to survive the apocalypse by saving food pic.twitter.com/sY6AuB407C

— Adam (@AdamDAaron) April 8, 2020

#CartoonsTaughtMe anyone can cut hair during this pandemic pic.twitter.com/WHrLDUqIkM

— Wildwood Flower (@WildFlower_0121) April 8, 2020

#CartoonsTaughtMe that being a complete idiot is no impediment to popularity; in fact, it's a plus. pic.twitter.com/e7su7ZZEgp

— Ride the Kraken Over Macho Grande (@smitty_one_each) April 8, 2020

#CartoonsTaughtMe to be nice to everyone, even the smelly kid! pic.twitter.com/ztZgQhDB59

— @RoyalCityRaucous (@RoyalCityRauco1) April 8, 2020

But while #CartoonsTaughtMe ranged across topics, with people sharing both earnest and joking lessons, or applying the hashtag to politics or to their dating lives, what remained consistent was positivity. With some exceptions, we treasure the lessons we took from our childhood cartoons and, seemingly, left behind the bad to cherish the good. It's not Raphael's surly attitude that most endures from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it's the beauty of pizza.

#CartoonsTaughtMe pizza is all that's needed pic.twitter.com/RUreGoQOWL

— Sam .... why you following me, what do you want ;) (@HowlinMad3) April 8, 2020

Whether you're sharing or taking lessons from #CartoonsTaughtMe, it's a hashtag loaded with fun GIFs and childhood nostalgia. Check it out for yourself, it may surprise you what from your childhood is still shaping the lives of the people around you.