Before I ever had children I was adamant that they would not be allowed to watch SpongeBob SquarePants. I had listened to countless tales from coworkers about the little yellow sponge who resided in the underwater world of Bikini Bottom. I’ll never forget the day my friend got a call from her son’s teacher because he was talking about P.O.O.P. in class. The teacher was appalled, but in reality, he was referring to the acronym for the Krusty Krab motto, people order our patties. Her P.O.O.P. story, in and of itself, was enough to make me anti-SpongeBob.
My daughter asked me countless times to watch the series, and I always replied with a firm no. Then one day, she was home from preschool with a cold. She asked to lie in my bed and watch tv. The television in my room didn’t have a DVR, so we were stuck watching *gasps dramatically* live tv. Unfortunately, the only thing that was on was that evil yellow sponge. She looked at me, face flushed with fever, snot running down her face, and pleaded in a raspy voice, “Please Mommy, it will make me feel better.” Who can say no to that? So, I snuggled up next to her and watched my first episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.
It wasn’t as bad as I imagined. Yes, the humor was sophomoric, SpongeBob’s laugh was annoying, and Patrick was a complete buffoon, but it really seemed pretty harmless to me. From that moment on, SpongeBob became a staple in our house.
It's been five years since I watched my first episode of SpongeBob, and let me just say, I‘ve watched more episodes than I care to admit. I realize SpongeBob is not typical educational television. Your child will not learn their ABCs by watching SpongeBob slave away tirelessly at the Krusty Krab. They won’t learn to identify colors and shapes by seeing Patrick and SpongeBob frolic through Jellyfish Fields. But there are some very important life lessons that they can pick up just by spending some quality time with that annoying square yellow sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
Life Lessons SpongeBob Teaches
Never Give Up
Many of the episodes revolve around Mrs. Puff’s Boating School where SpongeBob attends in an attempt to get his boating license. Bless his little yellow heart, but he never passes the boating test. It doesn’t get him down though, he just brushes himself off and tries again. It goes along with the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” That’s what SpongeBob does, he tries again, and again, and AGAIN…wearing a wide toothy grin with each attempt.
Friendships Are Important
SpongeBob surrounds himself with his friends. His two closest friends are a pink starfish named Patrick and a Texan Squirrel named Sandy. The dynamic of his friendships really does emulate real life. They play together, have fun together, share secrets, they fight, have disagreements, and as all good friends do, they always make up. Pretty amazing considering the time constraints of 11 minutes per episode.
There Are No Small Jobs
SpongeBob is a fry cook. Even in the underwater world of Bikini Bottom, it’s not a lucrative job. He loves his job very much though and is proud of his work. For him, making the best Krabby Patty possible equates to a great work of Picasso. What a great lesson to pass on to our children. It's not what you do, it's how you do it that matters. Yes, as parents we all hope that our children grow up to do something important. We envision them becoming president, a doctor, a lawyer, a great novelist. But, if they didn’t would we love them any less? Would their life be of any less value? Absolutely not!
Never has there been a cartoon character who has worked harder at his job than SpongeBob. His lowly job as a Fry Cook at the Krusty Krab is the world to SpongeBob. He prides himself on being on time for work, he does the best that he can each day, he never wants to disappoint his boss, and he helps his coworkers. I’m sure there are managers out there who watch SpongeBob with their kids and wish they had just one SpongeBob under their employment.
Be a Good Neighbor
Although SpongeBob’s next-door neighbor Squidward cannot stand him, there have been many times where SpongeBob has helped him out. Okay, there have also been times when his attempts at being helpful were not so helpful. Yes, he stole the show at Squidward‘s talent show, he thwarted his attempts to sell his house, and he even has blown Squidward’s Easter Island house to smithereens. That doesn’t make him any less of a good neighbor though. SpongeBob helps Squidward to take pleasure in the little things in life, like blowing bubbles and snowball fights. He aids the uptight Squidward in loosening up. Their relationship is the typical love/hate neighbor relationship, their dynamic is special.
Enjoy the Simple Things in Life
SpongeBob doesn’t need fancy video games and toys to make him happy. His home is simply decorated. His free time is spent with friends. He enjoys the same things that many kids do, blowing bubbles, fishing (jelly fishing in his world), camping, and playing in boxes. He’s not caught up in “I need this” or “I want this.” He makes do with what he has in front of him, he utilizes his imagination, and he enjoys every minute of it.
SpongeBob is helpful to a fault. It sometimes makes for his most exciting adventures. In a typical episode, SpongeBob will try to do something helpful for someone. It completely backfires in his face, and then he will make it right. In the end, everyone is happy.
Find Your Bliss
We all want our children to grow up to be happy well-adjusted members of society. What better way to be able to accomplish that than by finding what you love and spending your time doing it. SpongeBob’s bliss is being a Fry Cook. In his spare time, he gets great joy from jellyfish hunting. So, the show gives us two examples of how doing what you love can make you happy. As adults, we don’t necessarily end up in a career that we love. Gosh darn, those bills we have to pay. It's nice to know that SpongeBob also teaches kids that they can find what makes them happy not only through their place of employment but also through other activities.
No matter what life throws at SpongeBob, he finds a way to overcome it to be happy. His moments of sadness are usually fleeting. His boss may yell at him, his neighbor may ignore him, and his best friend may be disappointed with him. But, you can always count on the fact that at the end of each episode he will be smiling his buck-toothed grin. If I wish nothing else for my children, I wish them to be happy.
Yes, I do realize that SpongeBob SquarePants may not be typical educational television, but he can teach our children a lot. In fact, as adults, we could all more than likely take a few lessons from that goofy-looking yellow sponge.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Cassie on November 14, 2017:
I think this is really cool and lots of parents should see this to know that their child is learning something by watching SpongeBob.
Akhil Soni from Jaipur on August 21, 2016:
Amazing article and you shared really good ideas how it is helpful to see cartoon and everyone would love it for sure great job.
Jaz Almeida on October 14, 2015:
I grew up on Spongebob, so naturally, it's hard for me to see why you wouldn't want your kids to watch it. The moment you let him in your house made me so happy!! :)
I would say the best lesson he taught me is to always be positive, optimistic, and to look on the bright (yellow) side of everything. Anyway, I loved reading from a mother's point of view! Great job. :)
Celeste on August 13, 2014:
I love spongebob to watch it because love the episodes of spongebob that my favorite ever spongebob says go to work because Patrick saying about goofy things to say hey spongebob go to jelly fishing
Kathy Hull (author) from Bloomington, Illinois on December 15, 2013:
I'm glad you liked my point of view, actually my author name is just Krysanthe. It's like a pen name. :)
Anonymous Student on November 20, 2013:
Do you mind that I ask you your first and last name? I'm going to use this article for a research essay for my English class. I need the name of the author in order to cite the article! Thank you!
P.S. - Wonderful point of view on such a debated television show!
UnknownPerson on February 28, 2013:
Love the article.
My children used to love Spongebob.
carmela on July 24, 2012:
Spongebob is the best cartoon ever. Don't let your children to miss this show. Many lessons to give. Awesome :D
teddi20 on July 07, 2012:
I too did not allow my children to watch Spongebob. I saw it as a stupid, mindless show. I then saw an episode and was hooked. I find myself watching even when my kids are not home. I agree about the lessons that can be learned from this yellow sponge and his friends.
selma Seemann on May 05, 2012:
Great article!!!I love Spongebob.
sbob lover on January 31, 2012:
Spongebob rocks!!!! This article was great!!!
Abby Lysach from Singapore on October 31, 2011:
Spongebob’s characters--> innocent, optimistic, always cheerful and well prejudice to anyone; had proven capable of displaying extraordinary humors that doesn’t appear in other cartoons. His behavior sometimes led to disaster, being used by someone, or misunderstanding perceptions which combined with other figures who live in Bikini Bottom.
Spongebob Squarepants is the first children’s cartoon that is very popular and at the same time it spending the low budgeted as well. Not only favored by children, but also by teenagers and adults.
What can I say? Spongebob is a phenomenal cartoon I've ever seen. I like this article, really... Thanks for sharing :-)