Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?

Oh my! I put my foot in my mouth big time this weekend. We went to a great turning-four bowling birthday party on Saturday morning and left with the customary "goodie bad" in hand. As we made our way through the parking lot to find our car, my son went on & on about sponge-car, sponge-light, sponge-Mom, blah blah blah. The birthday girl's aunt was walking to the car with me and heard me correct Logan to please stop saying "sponge" everything. He asked why, and I said because he knows how I feel about Spongebob, so would he please stop going on & on about it?

Little did I know that there were Spongebob tattoos for my son in the goodie bag. Nor did I know that the birthday girl's aunt was aware of that--since Birthday Girl had chosen all the items we received as gifts from her. No, I didn't know all of that until we secured ourselves in our seats and said goodbye to Aunt Nicole.

Oh, no! I just said all that about Spongebob to Logan while Nicole listened in! Did I sound like a bitter, neurotic, petty witch, or what!?

Well, I didn't think of it again, after throwing the tattoos out, until Momma-to-the-Birthday-Girl called to apologize. She and I had talked only two days before about our preferences of media input for our kids--and agreed that there are too many disrespectful programs on TV--even marveling that The Peanuts' Specials we loved so much when we were younger are chock-full of insults between children which we would never allow our children to use (Blockhead! Stupid! etc...). I had made my thoughts on Spongebob clear, then, and she had she heard from her sister that I was upset about Spongebob, and she was so sorry, and that Birthday Girl had chosen the items...and how she meant to pull the tattoos from Logan's bag, but had forgotten. She was very apologetic!

Oh, sheesh!! Did I feel ridiculous.

So, what do I have against Spongebob?

Well, let's see, to begin, it is loud, obnoxious and annoying! Secondly, it is slapstick, which I don't think is appropriate for my four-year-old, whom I am trying to teach NOT to hit the face...or into a wall...or across the cheek! Third, the words "hate" and "stupid" are frequent and common in every episode (not to mention "dork" and "idiot..."). So, to quote Plankton, "What's the Point?"

Name-calling, mean-spirited conversations, characters thrown through doors, haunted spirits and ghosts terrorizing characters, screaming, yelling, underwear thrown about, punches to the face, sarcastic, complaining, opportunistic and greedy attitudes and fighting...? Let's see, in my house there is corrective action for any of those behaviors, so WHY would I sit my four-year-old in front of this on TV, to then say to him, "Now, don't DO what Spongebob does"? Ahhhh, no! Count me out.

Or, to quote Squidward, "So long, Suckers!"

"Here, hit me as hard as you can."
"Just like you, only clumsier"
"I hate you"

To his credit, Spongbob has a good work ethic.


Here's why else: becuase I want the materials that enter my children's brains to be enriching. Even the humor should be kind and clean, not disparaging and mean! We carefully choose what toys they play with--and do not have rooms full of Burger King, McDonald's and other sundry cheap break-it-easily "toys" Made In China(AKA JUNK!). We prefer wooden toys for the aestheic appeal, the lasting quality and the creative play they bring out in our children. Train sets, doll houses, rocking chairs, puzzles, cars, strategy games...

Now, some might say, "You need to be more frivolous! You need more whimsy in your life." I think I have plenty--we laugh often about ridiculous things--but I am talking about INPUT. The old computer saying, "Garbage in, garbage out," and the even OLDER biblical saying, Phillippians 4:4-8.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Research Material:
Graveyard Shift, Part 1
Graveyard Shift, Part 2


Jen S. said...

I'm with you on the SpongeBob thing. I've always thought it was a show geared toward older kids anyway, so I'm always surprised when I hear of 3 and 4 year olds watching it. I do have to admit though, that my son is a huge Peanuts fan. His grandma gave him a few of the DVDs and he thinks they are hilarious. I do cringe at the many, many, times they use the word "stupid", but I turned it into a little life lesson and explained to Luke that unfortunately there are some kids who are mean and call other kids names. But then I reinforce that God doesn't want us to treat other people that way. Then I throw in a little white lie about how Lucy later told Charlie Brown she was sorry, and they just didn't show that part!

ModMomMuse said...

Jen--I have such a fondness for the Peanuts, myself, that we bought the 3-DVD holiday series, so I am with you on that. We have done the same; when Lucy calls Charlie a blockhead, I turn to Logan, who looks shocked, and say, "Now! That wasn't kind, was it? It is not nice to call people names. Lucy is awfully grumpy today." He knows not to do that at home. It's somehow a little softer in Peanuts, though, than Spongebob, which I see as Larry, Mo & Curly for kids!

Jen S. said...

Yeah, Peanuts still has a sweetness to it, even though the kids are so mean to Charlie. In the end they usually do something nice for him. On one of our DVD's there is an old, rather obscure baseball cartoon that was made at the same time as the Christmas and Halloween ones (you can tell it's the same kids from those other ones.) Anyway, it's really sweet; Charlie tells the team they're getting new uniforms, but then the guy who was going to get them tells Charlie he has to kick the girls and Snoopy off the team. Charlie refuses, and then has to tell the kids they are not getting uniforms, but he doesn't tell them why. They are all mean to him and they quit, but then Linus tells them what happened, and they all join together to make Charlie a special uniform that says "Manager". And they make it out of the only material they can find...Linus' blanket! It's all very sweet and definitely takes the edge off of the name-calling parts!
(And I, too, have quite a fondness for all things dad has played the theme on piano for years, so it's always been a good memory for me!)