If you want to get a roomful of mothers groaning and rolling their eyes, just mention SpongeBob Square Pants.
This cartoon character evokes more disdain from moms and more love from children than any in recent history. The show is filled with potty talk, the characters are mean to each other and, well, it's just ... weird!
But several recent cases may make parents reconsider their aversion to the strange yellow guy who lives in a pineapple under the sea, since he's saving lives.
In the most recent cases a toddler in Ohio, Vincent Lamitie, knew just what to do when his father was injured after falling down the stairs. He called 911 just like SpongeBob does.
His parents said they never taught the 3-year-old the emergency number because they thought he was too young to learn it. Clearly not, especially if SpongeBob is the teacher.
In June, 8-year-old Reese Ronceray saved his 5-year-old friend, Andrew Gentile, from drowning in a lake due to a little help from SpongeBob.
Roceray saw the younger boy struggling, remembered the scene from "SpongeGuard on Duty" and jumped in the lake as his Gentile's panic-stricken mother watched. Then he proceeded to grab Gentile and swim to shore with him.
Back in April a 12-year-old girl, Miriam Starobin, was able to save a classmate from choking on her gum, because she had seen SpongeBob perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Squidward after he choked on a clarinet.
“Miriam pulls me off the ground," said Allyson Golden, who credits Starobin with saving her life. "She gives me the Heimlich three or four times and the gum comes shooting out onto the ground five feet in front of me.”
All of these are amazing and inspiring stories and may make us give SpongeBob a bit of a break since with the rest of his bad lesson he's peppering in some good ones too.
But these incidents are also important reminders of just how intently children are watching television and how much they absorb -- good and bad -- so making sure content is appropriate and in lines with what you want them to learn is vital.
Do your children watch SpongeBob? Do these stories make you think differently about him?
Image via J.recho/Flckr