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How a Person Can Be: Wonderful Life Lessons from Books and Cartoons

In today’s chaotic, stress-filled world, when a person can be empathetic, that empathy is like a pearl shining and making it all better. As I mentioned recently, I am taking a psychology class in the local community college (just because). Going through the modules, and participating in discussions online

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Books About How a Person Can Be Empathetic and More

Pearl of the Sea

Pearl of the Sea by Anthony Silverston and Raffaella Delle Donne with artwork by Willem Samuel (Graphic Novels | 10 – 13 years, and up | Catalyst Press | January 31, 2023)

Description: With vibrant full-color illustrations, Pearl of the Sea is a South African adventure story exploring how we are both bound to and freed by nature, seen through the eyes of a tough teen-aged heroine determined to live life by her own rules. 

My Thoughts

I was thinking I will have to say this is another current read, but I ended up finishing it straight through. It is a quick read, and kept me engrossed from start to end. This book is like reading an animated movie with the still from the movie transported into its pages. A great story that touches on many tough topics, a strong female protagonist, stunning artwork, and well, let me stop here, make this a must-have now.

This is sure to make a great gift to those who love animation and to all reluctant readers.

A Person Can Be

A Person Can Be by Kerri Kokias and art by Carey Sookocheff (Children’s Value Books | 3 – 7 years | Kids Can Press | October 4, 2022)

Description: A one-of-a-kind book that shows how naughty and nice (and other opposite qualities!) can describe the same person — at the same time!

My Thoughts

This book is sure to fool you a bit. With a simple narrative that takes readers through everyday activities and occurences in our lives (focusing on kids), it lays the ground for discussions for so many important and even complex concepts, like how

  • each of us is different yet the same
  • we can feel opposing feelings at the same time
  • any of us can have seemingly opposite qualities and still be just the one person!

Sweet illustrations and straightforward text with deeper meanings make this a great book to include in our libraries (be it our home or the classroom).

Purposeful Empathy

Purposeful Empathy: Tapping Our Hidden Superpower for Personal, Organizational, and Social Change by Anita Nowak (Leadership/Self-help | Broadleaf Books | April 11, 2023)

Description: Through inspiring stories; interviews with experts, including business leaders, neuroscientists, activists, social entrepreneurs, and spiritual leaders; a new model rooted in positive psychology and coaching; and self-development exercises at the end of each chapter, Purposeful Empathy offers wisdom and practical advice to foster personal, organizational, and social transformation.

My Current Thoughts

I am currently reading this one, and picked it up for a couple of reasons. The main one being that I have begun to feel I need to strengthen my empathetic skills. Anita Nowak’s Purposeful Empathy, has within the first few pages, assured me that I do have some empathy, and that I can empower myself with more of it.

This is a much-needed book in today’s world, and no matter who and what we are, is sure to make us better people as we read it.

Learning How a Person Can Be: Life Lessons from Tom and Jerry

Why the mention of Tom and Jerry, you wonder? Tom and Jerry officially made their first appearance – as Tom and Jerry – on July 19th in 1941! I grew up watching their cartoons. Well, not really, since TV made its appearance in our remote little town only when I was around 10. Cartoons like Tom and Jerry made their way to the national TV station Doordarshan.

What Tom and Jerry Taught Me (and My Family Too)

Here are a few things I used to think as I watched the show (some when I was younger, and many others when I watched with my own children):

Empathy and Understanding and Friendships

Tom and Jerry find themselves in conflict constantly(of course!) But, like me, you have very likely seen episodes where they temporarily set aside their rivalry to work together against a common enemy or to help each other out of a tough situation.

This is an implicit lesson about the importance of understanding and empathizing with others, even if we may have disagreements or conflicts. It also tells us to look at things from others’ perspectives, and to understand that everyone has their motivations and struggles. And of course, shows us we can be friends no matter, and find friendships in unexpected places.

Accepting Differences

One a cat, another a mouse! I marveled at how they managed, episode after episode, to coexist in the same environment. This is despite knowing that it is just a show to enjoy :). We can find so many examples where the two of them appreciate and accept each other for who they are.

This demonstrates that we can live alongside those who are different from us regardless of anything and everything.

Perseverance and Moving On

Both characters display incredible determination and resilience in pursuing their goals. Like Tom’s remarkable persistence in trying to catch Jerry. His determination is definitely something inspiring for me! And Jerry’s own decision to continue staying right where Tom is (well, without that, there would have been no show!). Also, his attempts to escape and outmaneuver Tom each time.

So keep trying, keep working towards your goals, and doing what motivates and inspires you!

Learn to Adapt and Be Creative

Tom and Jerry frequently find themselves in unpredictable situations, mostly because of each other, and sometimes, because of a common obstacle or enemy. This requires them to think quickly, change strategies, and adapt so they can keep going wherever they are heading.

A lesson in learning to be flexible and open to the curveballs life is sure to throw at each of us.

Remember, There are Consequences to Your Actions

Tom’s relentless pursuit of Jerry often leads to humorous but painful consequences for him. The many times he got flattened, literally, is one example I recall very well! On the other hand, Jerry’s mischievous actions sometimes result in his own setbacks.

All of these should be a reminder that our actions can have both any and many outcomes. So we need to think before we act; look before we leap; and all that. In short, consider the consequences before acting.

Keep Laughing!

Tom and Jerry’s slapstick humor and comedic situations remind us that laughter can help us, even during challenging times. Seeing Jerry ROTFL (and he does do that so often) never fails to make me smile. The same with Tom’s evil manipulations… and the results..

All About Knowing Yourself..

Remember, it is attitude that matters. Both Tom and Jerry (as well as the many other characters in this show) display this over and over. Pursuing our goals with confidence and determination is good, and it is also good to recognize our shortcomings. Also, we should learn not to underestimate others. At the same time, we should not underestimate ourselves too!

The End

So, as you can see, Tom and Jerry offer more than just entertainment. Go ahead and find an episode to watch. Or pick some of the books I discovered for yourselves or loved ones. In the end, remember: life is both simple and complex, easy and hard, full of laughter and mishaps, and all kinds of wonderful and not. Kind of like everything this entertaining, favorite show is.

I picked up a couple of these books from the library and loved them:

  • This set of 4 Tom and Jerry Wordless Graphic Novels is super fun to read. Check it out for yourself.
  • Tom and Jerry (4 books) by Benjamin Bird (Author) , Carmen Perez (Illustrator). These fun interactive picture books bring new surprises with every turn of the page. Thus, they are a great way to enjoy Tom and Jerry, or for spending time together.
  • If you love the Little Golden Books and enjoy Tom and Jerry, then this book is for you. Tom and Jerry Meet Little Quack (Little Golden Book) adapted by Don MacLaughlin and Harvey Eisenberg; and Golden Books (Illustrator)
  • And there are these delightful comics to explore.

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read any of the books mentioned here? Or any similar reads?

an image of Tom and Jerry with pin title Life Lessons from Tom and Jerry

12 thoughts on “How a Person Can Be: Wonderful Life Lessons from Books and Cartoons

  1. No, I haven’t read any of them. But what you said about Tom & Jerry resonates with me. And I love the idea of that book for younger people that can inspire those important conversations. How neat for moms of younger kids!

  2. My daughter has just added the novel “Pearl of the Sea” to her to be read list! Thanks for the recommendations.

  3. These are all such fabulous book suggestions and I especially am interested in Pearl…. as it has wonderful cover art that draws me in 😉 Will ave to check this out for my daughter!

  4. No, I have not but I will say Tom and Jerry introduced me to classical music. To this day, when I hear a piece it takes me back to those episodes.

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