When people dismiss television, and cartoons especially, as a mindless waste of time, I can't help but feel sorry for them. I think how much joyful bonding they could be having with their children. I think of all the laughs they could be having, if they just let themselves, if they just allowed themselves the 'unproductive' time to just sit and watch, they would be pleasantly surprised. I think the biggest surprise for some would be how much can be learned from cartoons.
My favorite cartoon for the last few years has been Spongebob Squarepants. Our family has enjoyed so many laughs and learned so many things from watching that show, that it would be hard to list them all, but I'll give you just I few examples why I think Spongebob is so awesome.
The character of Spongebob is like an eternal optimist. He rarely gets discouraged, but when he does his other emotions are just as huge as his happiness. He has passion for life! He approaches everything with enthusiasm. Even at his job as a frycook, Spongebob strives to be the absolute best he can be, and he takes satisfaction in a job well done. He is truly happy with the simple things in life, like friendship and bubbles. Numerous episodes show his disregard of money. Spongebob is a generous and loyal friend, kind to everyone, even the 'evil' Plankton. He is able to see the good in everyone, and often brings out the good in everyone, whether they like it or not (like Squidward).
If all my kids learned from watching Spongebob was how to be enthusiastic, optimistic, kind, loyal, generous, or a conscientious employee, that would be pretty good! BUT, they learn so much more. There is the content of each storyline, with the references to things in real life that we discuss that add even more depth to the value of this cartoon. Just today, they were quoting one of the characters, Patrick, saying, "The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma." Quite a mouthful, huh? Of course, I couldn't let that go by without talking to them about it, and after the discussion, the humor was appreciated even more by them. (After saying this, the cartoon shows a carton of milk spilling on a table inside Patrick's head.
One of my daughter's friends told me that there was talk at her school about trying to have Spongebob banned! I want to cry when I hear talk of banning anything in this day and age, but this cartoon? I couldn't imagine why. When I asked the girl, she said it had something to do with an episode where he ripped his pants. Well, I've seen the offending episode numerous times, and the moral is "Be yourself if you want people to like you." Spongebob got a laugh the first few times he ripped his pants, so he kept playing practical jokes until he went too far and everyone had enough. At the end, he sings a corny song realizing his error, and everything is all better. How that is offensive is beyond me.
What offends me, quite frankly, is the look I get from some people when I tell them I love Spongebob. I want to tell them to just grow up, I mean loosen up, I mean wise up, I mean --- just watch it, maybe you'll like it.