A few years back, I used to write at a place called Squidoo which has since closed its doors. Before it closed down, I was sure to save all my work, packed it away with the idea that I might want to publish it again at some point in time. So, since I need some “meat” here on this blog, I thought I would share with you that old article about the life lessons that the cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants offers viewers of all ages. In this old article, I use just a few of my favorite episodes of the series, giving a brief plot synopsis and then offering up the lessons that I got from the episode. Of course, life lessons are subjective and what I got out of the episode might be totally different than what someone else got.
So, here is just part of the article , I think there is enough material here for a two part series. We will just have to see what time brings. 🙂
Bubble Stand (Season 1, Episode 2)
In this episode SpongeBob builds a bubble blowing stand in front of his pineapple home and plans to open a bubble blowing business. He intends to charge each customer one quarter to blow bubbles. Of course, next door neighbor, Squidward, thinks the idea is silly and wonders who in their right mind would pay to blow bubbles. Well, as luck would have it, the first customer is Patrick, who, on a borrowed quarter from SpongeBob, attempts to blow bubbles, only to discover he is “bubblily challenged”. This inspires SpongeBob to offer up a bubble blowing lessons for just one quarter per lesson and Patrick is happy to partake of the lesson (having to use another borrowed quarter from SpongeBob). The secret to blowing good bubbles goes like this; “first go like this, spin around. Stop! Double take three times. One, two three. Then pelvic thrust. Whooooooo, whooooooo. Stop on your right foot, don’t forget it! Now it’s time to bring it around town. Bring-it-a-round-town. Then you do this, then this, and this, then this, then that, then this and that, and then” you proceed to blow wondrous bubbles of all shapes and sizes like boat bubbles, and elephant bubbles and duck bubbles using this tried and true SpongeBob technique. Of course, Squidward gets into the act after one of SpongeBob’s bubbles floats into his Tiki house and promptly pops. Going outside he eventually attempts to blow a bubble only to discover he is as challenged at it as Patrick was. But, with a little help from SpongeBob’s technique he manages to blow a giant round bubble and discovers that bubble blowing isn’t such a bad thing after all.
Lets take a look at some of the lessons from this episode.
1) Different Strokes For Different Folks
Fun comes to different people in different ways. What appears to be childish or silly to one person might not appear that way to another. I for one love the idea of blowing bubbles. Squidward, of course, would look at me kinda funny if he was here I am sure. The point is to not lose sight of the kid in all of us. How many of the problems in this world, be it emotional, mental, physical could be eased or maybe even eliminated if more people took time out to be silly. It is said that laughter is the best medicine.
In the real world we have hot dog stands, lemonade stands, news stands, so why not a bubble blowing stand. I wonder how much fun people would have, if someone actually (and maybe they have) set up such a stand in a busy place, like a street corner or maybe a city park? If you happened upon a stand like that, would you take the time to blow a few bubbles?
2) Life Is Full Of Opportunities
Opportunities can present themselves in different ways. For one thing, SpongeBob decided to open his own business providing the service of bubble blowing. When he realized that his customers (Patrick and Squidward) were lacking in skills necessary to blow bubbles, he saw another chance to earn more money by offering bubble blowing lessons. During our life time, we will see many places where there are voids that need to be filled. Maybe we can fill some of those by becoming an entrepreneur like SpongeBob in this episode, and offering our services for a price. But, there are other places that have voids that simply require our time and effort. Maybe in your community the local food bank is in need of donations, so you could start a food drive, or maybe there are abused, neglected and abandoned animals that need a second chance at a happy home and some form of animal sheltering is needed, or maybe there are homeless or hungry people in your community who need a hand up. The point is, life holds many voids, many areas of lack that can be filled either through a business or charitable activities. Granted, you might not up end saving the world, and your work might be small in size, but just think, if you got a lot of people offering a little bit of help, that sure can add up over time. If you are a charity and you need $1,000, it is sometimes a lot easier to get 100 people to donate $10 each than it is to get one person to donate $1,000. “Never underestimate the power of “small”. Little and often make much.
3) Just Because You Can’t Blow Bubbles, Doesn’t Mean It Has to Be That Way Forever
When Patrick discovered he couldn’t blow bubbles, he was willing to learn how and took lessons from SpongeBob. Just because we find that we can’t perform a certain task at all or as well as we would like, it doesn’t mean that it has to be that way forever. We have the options of finding ways to improve our skills–we can read a book, watch a video, or even take lessons like Patrick did.
4) Solution Oriented
SpongeBob was solution oriented in his outlook. When he discovered that some were not able to blow great bubbles, he didn’t simply throw up his hands and shrug his shoulders and say, “well, that’s the way it goes” and then went on about his business. No, indeed, he realized he had a skill to offer and was willing to teach others how to blow great bubbles. He saw a “negative” situation (people who wanted to blow bubbles, but lacked the skill) and he was able to offer up a solution to their problem. Solutions don’t always have to be complicated and convoluted. Sometimes simple is the best way to proceed.
MuscleBob BuffPants (Season 1; Episode 11)
MuscleBob BuffPants Ok, so it’s safe to say that SpongeBob is never going to be a world class weight lifter, but when he tries to follow Sandy’s exercise routine and his arms keep falling off…something has to be done. Watching TV, he sees an ad for “Anchor Arms”, inflatable rubber arms that fit over your own like gloves and by adding air, they grow to incredible sizes, like, “normal, meaty and hairy for the ladies”. SpongeBob immediately orders a pair and when they arrive he can hardly wait to try them out. When folks see him they are amazed at the changes and Sandy invites him to take part in an anchor toss. Of course, you know that things aren’t going to go well for our little sponge, when it comes time for him to toss his anchor, the air in his arms begin to inflate different parts of his body..his teeth, his eyes, his butt, well you get the picture, till finally the pressure becomes to much and they explode.
Let’s look at some of the lessons that this episode teaches me.
1) Be Proud of Who You Are
This is a valuable reminder for us all to be proud of who we really are and to do our very best according to our true abilities. Each one of us is unique (just like everyone else, eh) and as such we need to find our true “strength” in the basis of our uniqueness. There is a saying that goes, “spend your time being a first rate you, and not a second rate someone else” and this seems to fit so well here.
2) No Easy Way To Reach A Goal
There is simply no easy way to reach a goal. Sandy and Larry the Lobster are able to lift and toss heavy anchors, because they have exercised and strengthened their bodies. There is no quick way to get physically strong like Sandy or Larry, that is something that takes time, eating right and exercising.
Any goal that we have in life requires real effort; most of the things we want are not going to be handed to us on a silver platter. If we want a new car, a different job, a bigger bank account, a new house, or whatever, it requires thought, planning, effort, research, etc. There are no quick fixes in life, accomplishing a goal takes time.
3) What You See Isn’t Always What You Get
In this case, Anchor Arms promised SpongeBob that he would look big and strong, and he certainly did at that, but when he tried to participate in the anchor tossing contest he simply couldn’t do it. Those big fake muscles did absolutely nothing in helping him have the strength necessary to accomplish his goal. In the end, they were simply filled with nothing but hot air. People, politicians, civic leaders, companies, our friends, and even family members can tell us things that sound really good, but on closer examination we discover they are lies. The concept of Anchor Arms, with it’s huge muscles, made it appear on the outside that SpongeBob would have tremendous strength, but when he really needed to use them to lift the anchors, he couldn’t do it. Appearances can be deceiving.
4) Misplaced Confidence
SpongeBob at first realized that his Anchor Arms were simply full of hot air and he didn’t want to participate in the anchor toss. But, there came a point, when he was in front of the crowd getting ready to take his turn, the he actually believed that if he inflated the arms to their maximum size, that he could pick up the anchor and throw it the way Sandy and Larry did during their turns. Of course, it didn’t end well for our favorite little sponge. Unfortunately, SpongeBob’s confidence was misplaced, as his arms exploded under the strain of trying to lift such a heavy item. That happens in life, too, at times we can be very aware that a thing (even a person, sadly) is not worthy of our confidence, but yet we want to think the best, we want to be proven wrong in our assumptions. Happily sometimes we are pleasantly surprised and other times…not.
5) Lying Can Get You Into Situations You Don’t Want To Be In
When Sandy saw how huge SpongeBob’s muscles were, she was so impressed that she signed him up for the anchor toss, even though he didn’t really want to take part. If he had been honest with Sandy from the start, he wouldn’t have had to humiliate himself in front of all of those people when his arms simply exploded. But, of course, we wouldn’t have had such a fun episodes to watch. 🙂
6) Giving Our Best Effort
Even though SpongeBob knew deep down inside that his arms were just for show and offered no real improvement in his physical strength, when faced with taking his turn to toss the anchor, he decided that he would give it his best effort.
© 2016 Glory Miller