Nine Lessons I WANT My Kids to Learn From SpongeBob

In honor of the new SpongeBob movie, "Sponge Out of Water," I dug this post out of the archives. Ironically, it is my fifth most viewed post behind my one and only viral post, a post about sleep training my toddler, and this post and this post about my son's cancer. Now we know what's important to people. It was originally published two years ago this month. Enjoy!

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Ahh, SpongeBob SquarePants, the bane of most parents' existence. I knew nothing about this little show five years ago. I only knew that other parents hated it, and that it was TV Y7, so that was enough convincing I needed to never turn it on.

Enter, grandparents and babysitters. Yeah, what happens when Mommy and Daddy aren't home . . .well, pretty much screws up anything Mommy and Daddy have tried to do.

So, Slim kept asking me if we could watch SpongeBob, and I kept saying no. Then came the response, "But so-and-so let me watch it!"

Oh DID so-and-so now?

My excuse to him was, Oh, too bad, it's TV Y7. Maybe when he turned 7, I promised. He was four at the time, so I figured he would forget.

Oh no. The day he turned 7, he wanted to watch SpongeBob. And stupidly, I gave in. I mean, how could it be so bad? It had a catchy theme song, after all.

Honestly, I find almost all of the characters deplorable:

Patrick Star=lazy, ignorant, slovenly, immature, clueless
Mr. Krabs=greedy, uncaring, shady business practices
Pearl=disrespectful, unconfident, bratty
Squidward Tentacles=arrogant, cold, unfeeling, bigoted
Plankton=thieving, conniving, selfish, Napoleon complex
Townspeople=rude, unfeeling, paranoid, sheep-like

The only other character that has any redeeming qualities at all is Sandy Cheeks. She is a karate chopping, rodeo riding, scientist who lives without fear or limits. She is the ultimate in girl power!

Except for the fact that she did call SpongeBob "Idiot Boy" once. Which, I guess, really does make her a true girl. <sad trombone>

However, a careful, two-year-long study of SpongeBob himself revealed something startling: SpongeBob actually has some qualities that I'd like my kids to emulate!

No, really, it's true. Here are the qualities my research has found to be acceptable:

1. Work ethic. SpongeBob is a fry cook at a greasy burger joint with a dishonest, slave driving boss, rude customers, and an insufferable co-worker. Yet, he loves going to work every day! There's something we don't have enough of - people who are willing to do sucky jobs and be happy about it. People who take pride in their work and who are willing to be "yes-men" with little to no recognition for the grunt work they do are in short supply these days.

2. Enthusiasm. Whether it is flipping crabby patties, jellyfishing, or digging a wishing well for Mr. Krabs and sitting in it all night long, SpongeBob does everything with the enthusiasm of a toddler at an all-you-can-eat Goldfish buffet.

3. Positive attitude. Along with his enthusiasm, SpongeBob's positive attitude goes a long way toward motivating his friends and the townsfolk. Who doesn't love to tune in on time to see yet another one of his passionately misguided motivational speeches?

4. Loyalty to his friends. No matter how many times Squidward tells SpongeBob to buzz off, SpongeBob keeps on keeping on the friendship train to Squidward town. In fact, he wants to please his friends so much, he once ran himself ragged while trying to plan Patrick's birthday party, help Sandy present her new scientific discovery to her colleagues, and help Mr. Krabs build a telescope. Who wouldn't love that kind of loyalty in a buddy?

5. Love of animals. SpongeBob is kind to all creatures. He adores his pet snail, Gary, and treats him better than most people treat their own children. But he has also gotten his heart wrapped up in jellyfish, a seahorse named Mystery, and a pregnant worm. Someone send this kid to veterinary school!

6. Imagination. This really has to be the little yellow quadrilateral's best quality. He and Patrick can make almost anything into a game, find fun in any task, and use their imaginations to keep them occupied all day long. They once played so vigorously with a plain cardboard box, that even the unflappable Squidward was motivated to find out what was inside. (Spoiler alert: nothing but their imaginations!)

7. Willingness to forgive and forget. Who else in the entire world could allow himself to be treated like a doormat by his friends, coworkers, boss, and townsfolk, and keep coming back for more? Ready? SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS! That's who.

8. Ability laugh at himself. Laugh, and Bikini Bottom laughs with you. Cry, and they still laugh at you.

9. Determination. After all, jellyfish don't catch themselves.


So the next time your kids are just begging to watch SpongeBob, don't be so quick to dismiss it as worthless, rude garbage.

After all, if Junior aspires to be a child-like adult working a minimum wage paying job while hanging out with losers who constantly degrade him, this is definitely the show for him!

*Please note: In this post I do not mean to degrade child-like adults or spongy yellow invertebrates. They are both lovely to know. And I really do think that the character of SpongeBob has some redeeming qualities. But then I realized how ridiculous that sounded.

**2,3 Image sources

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