Goofus and Gallant’s Code of Ethics

Posted on April 6, 2013


As a kid sitting in the dentist’s office a long, long time ago (the  late 70’s/early 80’s),  Highlights was THE magazine of choice. Of course, I wasn’t interested in the puzzles or crafts or anything that might teach me something but only…..Goofus and Gallant!goofus-gallant-highlights-classic

Goofus and Gallant were real life to me…at least Goofus was. I might have smirked then at his rude and selfish ways but I related completely. Gallant, on the other hand, reminded me of all the suck-up, goody two-shoes, teacher’s pets I’d ever encountered – and despised! Thankfully, I don’t think exactly like a seven year-old anymore, but still, in looking at the black-and-white captions of the comic strip, Goofus makes me laugh (the anger!) while Gallant just seems like a pleasant kid.

Goofus and Gallant could be a good point of instruction for Christian children (the older captions are a lot more vivid than the newer cg ones). The contrast between the two boys  leave a lot of room for discussion. Some of the questions you could ask:

  • Why do you think Goofus is mean and Gallant is nice?
  • What would be the appropriate punishment for Goofus?
  • What would be the appropriate reward for Gallant?
  • Who are you more like?
  • Which boy would you prefer for a friend?
  • What do you think motivates them?
  • What would Jesus think of them?

Gary and Caroline Myers created Highlights in 1946 (also called Highlights for Children and Highlights: Fun with a Purpose). He took a PhD in psychology from Columbia University, and later both of them worked as teachers at Case Western Reserve. He also wrote a syndicated parenting column before starting the kid’s magazine. It’s safe to assume the couple were progressives. They believed if given the right tools (education)  a child would thrive and make the proper moral choices (as Gallant did, consistently).  Certainly, learning is good but if it’s not grounded in the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7) then even good manners are ultimately worthless.

For more great Goofus and Gallant pics look here.

A newer version of G &G is here.

A fairly clean spoof of Goofus and Gallant is here.

Posted in: art, Christianity