“I’ve watered her down as far as she’ll go, I can’t water her no more!” (Willy the groundskeeper from the Simpsons)
I sat down with my kids today before their nap, and we watched some Nick Jr.
I woke up some time later, my sons concerned face looking down at me, a bottle of insulin and a syringe in his hand.
Okay, that didn’t happen, but I’m absolutely shocked that one or all of us didn’t turn instantaneously diabetic from the programming.
I’m quite strict about what the kids watch on tv, in fact, J didn’t even watch TV till he was two. Since then we’ve implemented one simple rule; we don’t let them watch any brain melting happy crappy shitty vomitous child spoiling first world problem television.
I’ve taken a lot of shit from other mothers for letting my kids watch Spongebob, but the thing about Spongebob is: shit happens to Spongebob.
Spongebob gets mad or afraid, and things don’t always end the way he wants, but Spongebob always conducts himself in the manner that I would want my kids to mimic. He’s always nice and he always communicates his feelings. He’s understanding when other fish and invertebrates disagree with him. He’s loyal to his friends, and he never talks smack about the other invertebrates in his life. Most importantly, he loses.
Life is hard. Life sucks. You’re hardly ever going to get what you want, and when you do, you’re going to pay out the nose for it. You’re going to lose more often than you win. You’re not going to be good at everything, not everyone is going to like you, and you might have to take the test for your boating license a million times.
Spongebob offers my children a really important lesson. A lesson that is, unfortunately, no longer taught in schools, where everyone gets an A, or in sports, when my kid comes home with a giant trophy for participation, or anywhere else in children’s programming, where everyone is friendly, happy, and wins.
He teaches them that it’s okay to lose.
It’s okay to put everything you have into something big, come out the loser, and carry on; waking up the next morning ready for a brand new day.
That, I believe, is the best self-esteem booster there is.