Wise Words from an Unlikely Source

SpongeBob SquarePants (character)

SpongeBob SquarePants (character) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is my column for this week. Despite the fact that it is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, I still had my Monday morning deadline. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in Canada and Good Day to the rest of the world:


   “You never really know the true value of a moment, until it becomes a memory”. – SpongeBob


            Who knew that such wise words would come from a cartoon character—one that my youngest son, Tyler, tells me is “one of the most famous ever” and does his owners (Nickelodeon) proud in that it makes them millions. For those of you not familiar with SpongeBob Squarepants you obviously did not have kids of a certain age. He was popular at my house about twelve years ago—as he was my youngest son’s prelude to walking out the door to school.

            I know, I know, he probably should not have been watching television while having his breakfast, but that ship has sailed. I was once “one of those kind of moms”—the kind who would not let her kids play video games, the kind who made them healthy snacks, packed lunches that had no garbage so they could be part of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” crowd at school, made sure they watched non-violent TV (though I don’t think SpongeBob was particularly violent), and dressed them preppy-like. I fell off the “crazy mom” wagon eventually, but according to my 22 year old son, not soon enough.

            Anyway, back to the premise of this column which are the wise words of that colourful talking sea sponge. I know that his creator penned the words, but how bad can a cartoon be if these are the types of little gems that drop from the character’s mouth? Are these not the kind of things we want our kids to be exposed to? Here is another exchange that while funny is also heart-warming: Patrick Star (Spongebob’s starfish friend) says: “Knowledge can never replace friendship. I prefer to be an idiot”. And SpongeBob’s response: “You’re not just an idiot Patrick, you’re also my pal.” While kids would think this was comical, they would also be getting a lovely, if droll message about friendship: you accept your friends despite their flaws.

            “You never really know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory” is on the surface a seemingly charming sentiment, but delving shallowly below that surface it really means that we tend not to enjoy the moment we are in. We savour our memories but should realize that the moment is just as enchanting when it happens as when we look back on it. I tend to forget this and live through the moments rather than in them.

            As I write this I am fondly remembering the Thanksgiving meal we had yesterday—but in order to make it possible a lot of work went into the process. As I am by no means a domestic goddess (which after speaking to a few people who have read this column, comes through loud and clear) I tried to enjoy the preparation of the meal instead of just the end result. I convinced myself (and it took some convincing) that all the fuss and bother, cooking and cleaning were worth it, because I was doing it for the people I love. And magically, it worked. The turkey was particularly succulent, the roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes were perfection themselves, the gravy was silky, and the dessert–wonderful pies (which I cannot take the accolades for) were made more magnificent by the purchase of salted caramel ice cream which complemented them exquisitely—and was my contribution.

            Why did I enjoy the meal so much? Not because I created it—but because the people I made it for were highly appreciative. They raved a little bit (knowing their sister, wife, and mom was not a natural cook), and I basked in the moment. I appreciate the memory today, but I really did know “the true value of the moment” while it was being lived.


English: A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pump...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And when I got up this morning—I lived in the moment again—I had pumpkin pie for breakfast!

Side notes: SpongeBob was created in 1999 by marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg and voiced by Tom Kenney.

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34 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Who would have thought such wisdom would come from Sponge Bob – now I feel I have the permission to turn on cartoons. 🙂 Seriously it sounds like you had a wonderful, loving holiday and for that I give thanks.

    • thanks Mimi–it was great and I am glad you might turn on a cartoon or two – laughter is supposed to be good for us!

      • Honestly Lou? I find myself laughing at myself on a regular basis – the cartoons will only add fuel to the fire! 🙂

      • I laugh at myself too –it is not same (lol)

  2. LouAnn,
    Happy Thanksgiving, your family, and the Canadian readers here. Thanks for the good words from Sponge Bob.

  3. We’re obviously of the same vintage… our youngest son was a Sponge Bob fan too!

    Today I’m discovering the downside to enjoying a Thanksgiving feast at someone else’s house yesterday… no leftovers at my house. 😦 No pumpkin pie for breakfast!

    • that is a definite downside, but at least you left the calories behind-Happy, happy

  4. Sponge Bob has been one of my favorite cartoons… only after Shinchan. Ha! 😀
    Really good lesson… A moment is precious… it is all about living in it. Very nicely put. 🙂

  5. SpongeBob is a wise square pants. I love me some cartoons.

    Thanks for the reminder of what matters LouAnn

    • thank you for likely them — one of my favourite cartoons was Pinky and the Brain–and Bobby’s World–wonder what that says about me?

      • Pinky and the Brain was awesome. I watch The Regular show with my 16 year old now. Yes I’m that kind if mother. And I laugh my butt off when we watch it.
        I’d say it says you’re pretty damn awesome

      • had to ask my son about The Regular–he says it is good–I am glad we are that “kind of mother”

  6. I live through most of my moments. Thank you so much for sharing this quote, even if it’s from Spongebob. I need to remember to live them instead if just getting through them. I wish away so many days trying to get through till Friday. I’m wishing myself older. Ridiculous.

    • I know, I did that for a long time and still have to remind myself not to wish away even the bad times (though I have to admit–I wish I could fast forward through some things and not get any older)

      • To skip the bad stuff, be forever young and thin, wealthy, and all kinds of popular. Maybe royalty? Am I asking too much?

      • Royalty gets picked on too much–I just want to be quietly wealthy, young for my age, and get invited out for dinner and wine

  7. There is a lot of truth in the statement ….and yesterday when one of our sons and family were here we did some reminiscing and it felt good … Probably at the time that we were thinking about, we didn’t give it the same attention … nor did we likely think it would be part of memorable times… (boy do I sometimes have difficulty articulating what it is I’m trying to say)… Diane

    • you have no trouble articulating at all Diane–it is true that sometimes we do not recognize the memorable while it is happening

  8. Happy Thanksgiving Lou Ann!
    Glad that you had a nice meal with your loved ones.

    I heart Spongebob. I started watching when it first started & my son was 2. Having an uncle 4 years older – he skipped the Barney (Thank God) phase & all the kiddie cartoons. He went straight to Nick & Cartoon Network. And – so far – at 16 I can’t see that it’s done any damage – LOL
    Now my girls watch that show.
    I love the conversation Patrick / Spongebob idiot / pal quote. I remember seeing that episode too.

    • I love that conversation too — cartoons really do make us relate to our kids

  9. This is truly a delightful article and hits home. I used to watch SpongeBob Square Pants with my granddaughters and we had so many laughs. They thought I was such a cool grandma even though I failed to see the logic in an underwater sponge’s adventures.
    But congratulations on your stellar Canadian Thanksgiving. Those moments are precious at those moments, and for later memories.

    • When we watch even if we fail to see the logic–that is what makes us cool

      Moments are good for the present, but memories are precious too

  10. What an amazingly strong finish to a post. Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast. Killer close!

  11. Glad your turkey day was was memorable. Love dessert for breakfast too!

  12. Oh, I’ve done this…had pumpkin pie for breakfast! What a nice treat for an after-holiday morning! Sounds like you had a beautiful time with your family. Happy Thanksgiving Day to you! ~ Sheila

    • thanks Sheila–but the holiday bubble is unfortunately over and I am going to have to appreciate everyday moments for a while–but that has its own joy

  13. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I like Sponge Bob and he was after my childhood. But I worked as a nanny for several summers in my 20s and got hooked. I’d rather be an idiot as well–maybe I should change my name to Patrick.

    • I admire Patrick’s code too–I am sure many of us have watched these cartoons while taking care of kids–see what they can teach us?

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