10 Lessons Kids Can Learn from Bullwinkle

Bullwinkle J. Moose is the central character from the animated TV series Rocky & His Friends. He’s a good-natured, though dim-witted moose who, along with his sidekick Rocky the Flying Squirrel, frequently does battle with evil secret agent duo, Boris and Natasha. Bullwinkle’s plans typically go awry, which is the gist of most story lines in the series. As such, Bullwinkle can be instructive viewing for children. Here are 10 lessons that kids can learn from Bullwinkle:

  1. If at first you don’t succeed, keep reaching into that top hat. Bullwinkle tries to develop his skills, but not always successfully. The most important thing is that he doesn’t let failure get the best of him. He keeps trying.
  2. Everyone has a talent and a purpose.  Even the oafish Bullwinkle, according to his creators, “served a tour of duty in the armed forces, spending time as the radar mast on a Navy destroyer and a hat rack in the Fort Blunder Officer’s Club”. Kids can learn that everyone has talents  that make them unique.
  3. Service to country and community builds character.  Bullwinkle not only served in the military and contributes to his community in Frostbite Falls, but he dedicates himself to defeating those no-goodniks, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale.
  4. Food for thought.  Bullwinkle J. Moose has the uncanny ability to remember everything he has ever eaten. A memory like that can be inspirational. It could also serve as an entree (pun fully intended) into the subject of proper nutrition.
  5. Mighty Moose Muscle  A term used in the series referring to Bullwinkle’s super strength. The topic of exercise and good physical fitness can be discussed with kids, demonstrating its importance for overall health and well-being.
  6. Mr. Know-It-All  Bullwinkle’s alter-ego was decidedly more educational, sharing poetry and witticisms with viewers each week. Kids need only witness the contrast between Bullwinkle and Mr. Know-It-All to understand the importance of education.
  7. People can be very different, and still be friends. You can’t get much more different than Bullwinkle and Rocky are from each other; yet their friendship has endured for decades. Big/little, slow/smart; plodding/flying, moose/squirrel. They’re not exactly two peas in a pod, but they are as close as two friends can get. Kids can learn about diversity and complementary skills.
  8. “Eenie-meenie, chili beanie! The spirits are about to speak!”  Bullwinkle tries his hand at magic and divination, with, at best, mixed results. Depending on their age, kids might be ready for a lesson about the dangers of the occult. If not, teach them a few card tricks instead!
  9. The dangers of xenophobia.  A running gag throughout the series is the animosity between our heroes and the thinly-disguised communist caricatures, Boris & Co. As the series ran during the height of the U.S. vs. U.S.S.R cold war, it was common to satirize the subject. This can be an opportunity for kids to learn about different cultures, tolerance, etc.
  10. You don’t have to be a genius to be lovable. Bullwinkle’s popularity spans 5 decades, despite the fact that the show was canceled almost 50 years ago. His endearing qualities of self-effacing humor, gentle spirit, and never-say-die attitude are a winning combination, and a lesson for kids of all ages.