If you watched Nickelodeon back in the day, you might remember "The World of David the Gnome." It seemed like a cartoon about animals and nature, but if you ever watch it again as an adult, be prepared for a much more emotional experience than you remember.
Why? Because gnomes live for 400 years, and the main characters David and Lisa are 399. The result is a story about the kindest creatures ever living the last year of their lives. Its messages about gentleness and mortality may have been too deep for our kid brains to grasp, but now that we're grown, these lessons are more on point than David's red hat.
1. Express your love for people while you still can
Gnomes show affection mostly by rubbing their noses together, and David is always giving Lisa compliments (such as how she's "as pretty as the day I first met you," hundreds of years earlier). Celebrating love is so important to gnomes, episode 6 is all about protecting a wedding from "those compulsive gatecrashers, the trolls." The point is, don't bottle up your emotions and withhold affection, because you only get so many chances to say "I love you."
2. Everyone's home is different
David is open-minded and well-traveled (by fox and bird mostly) and always respectful of how others live. He knows what he likes -- living in the woods, smoking dandelion fluff and sitting in a bathtub, mostly -- but he's also cool with whatever makes other people happy.
3. There are trolls out there
Trolls are the only creatures David and the rest of the gnomes aren't fans of. (And if you've ever been on the internet, you know why.) Even if you take precautions, sometimes you have to deal with jerks -- but don't let their negativity make you a negative person as well. Avoid falling into their traps, and waste as little time with them as you possibly can.
David also taught us that revenge is a dish best served...never. In episode 4, David saves a baby troll from drowning. Sure, the trolls are his enemies and he could've walked away as retaliation, but that's an ugly way to live -- even uglier than a troll.
4. Feminine instincts are powerful
When David doesn't come home on time, Lisa just knows he's in trouble (a.k.a. captured by trolls). Women worry, and it's only annoying because we're usually right. When it's a woman who loves you, trust her intuition, because it could save you.
5. Growing old does not have to be scary...
You don't actively think about the fact that David is about to die, because he doesn't think about it -- he's too busy living. (If this had been a show about a gnome obsessed with his own mortality, we would've grown into an even more neurotic generation that we already are.) If you watch the final episode as an adult, you'll be shocked at how chill David is about dying.
6. ...but saying goodbye is unbelievably sad
Yeah, about that final episode. David and Lisa wake up on their last day on earth, then walk off to a mountain to hug and die peacefully. When Swift the Fox breaks down in tears saying goodbye to his best friends forever, it's utterly heartbreaking. The above clip should be marked as NSFW, unless you think work is a safe space for crying.
7. We put it all in perspective eventually
People have argued that David and Lisa did not die, but instead turned into trees -- which is kind of like telling kids they went off to live on a farm. Still, thinking of someone living on is a healthy way of mourning and coping with such a loss.
And coping is what we have to do, letting go of our grief over time (like when Swift stops sobbing and meets a lady fox). It doesn't mean you miss someone any less -- it just means you know they'd want you to be happy. That is a pretty ambitious lesson for kids...and sometimes even for adults.