I’ll admit, my inner child will begin to surface this time of year. Beginning with Charlie Brown. His disappointments always make my heart pound with disappointment for him. And not to mention he gets nothing but rocks as the gang heads out to Trick-or-Treat throughout their monopoly like houses- suburban neighborhood. I’ve often thought about writing to Mr. Shulz asking for one more ribbon winning moment for young Mr. Brown, sort of like his shinning spotlight in “Merry Christmas…Charlie Brown!” .
A question surfaced during the “moms who blog” mini group about life lessons and which cartoon character gives us those “ah-ha moments” or “pick yourself up and dust off – move on moments”. I have bins packed with books from my teaching years. And from my own children’s collection that I can’t part with – yet. But the one true character is Arthur who comes to mind. That adorable aardvark who proved that anyone can get through some of the most difficult situations. Especially his baby sister Francine. My kids loved watching Arthur. As did I. But I never gave Charlie Brown the credit he deserves.
Charlie Brown is resilient. Charlie has a flood of struggles… and if you think about it….most of the struggles come from the friendships he keeps. I certainly find no problem at laughing at my own struggles and failures, but it’s very hard to watch a young bald kid who has a heart the size of Manhattan get knocked down because he’s a “block head”. Bring in Linus. The pint size-honor roll – blanket carrying elementary kid has been Charlie’s main life line for years. I can only imagine these two guys in college. The dialogue never changes. But where does Charlie Brown give us the most valuable lesson? Is it when he’s bullied by others? He doesn’t bully another kid or make Snoopy go without food and water? Snoopy has quite a life and yet he even snubs the hand that feeds him! Is it that Charlie Brown has a way of allowing others to take out their frustrations on this bald softy because they find their own fears from failures and mistakes cramping their style. So lets just beat down good ol’ Chuck! [hug,hug]
Yet, Chuck keeps on going. His upside down smile goes to a crooked wiggly grin. Then we finally see that smile we all know and love.
As most of us moms agreed during our own childhood, watching the Peanuts gang was not only exciting – we also shared moments as young girls tearing up over Charlie Brown. One quote from Charlie comes to mind – “I think I’m afraid to be happy because whenever I get too happy something bad always happens”. Break. My. Heart! But he always ended up having confidence! Charlie Brown gave us love. (thanks Mr. Shulz) Charlie Brown gave us laughter and the desire to belt out “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go” on those road trips during Thanksgiving week. He gave us entertainment for many generations and to that I say you’re a good man Charlie Brown!
As we drank our coffee taking in the warm October sun, our topic flowed from bullying in schools, drug addiction in our suburban homes and throughout the DC metro area to teenage sex…..Charlie Brown came directly in my mind. How did one kid find such strength and determination? Because today there are those Charlie’s out there who are not able to grab enough determination or find their inner strength to stand up for themselves or to walk away. Those Charlies struggle to just find the courage to seek out a counselor or adult they are able to trust for outreach. Praying those Charlie’s find it to fight their inner fears and anxiety. And reach out.
If my kids were part of the Peanuts gang, I can honestly say I had no bossy Lucy’s or Peppermint Patty’s. I may have had a touch of Sally. Possibly Freida. And if Football Superstar wouldn’t have been the male hygiene enforcer….Pig Pen.
We moms agreed that the friendship between Charlie Brown and his beloved beagle Snoopy was priceless. Charlie was so patient with Snoopy. Snoopy and Woodstock met giving us nothing but teamwork. Who grabbed the firewood for the campsite? Woodstock. Who puffed the sheet for the sail on the sailboat? Woodstock. Like I said….teamwork.
The Great Pumpkin will glow once again this season on our televisions. Apple Cheeks and I will bake pumpkin bread and enjoy slice after slice with hot chocolate. And I will answer her questions after the show ends. “Why are Charlie Browns friends so mean to him? ” “If I were Charlie Brown’s friend….I would talk to the gang and tell them they are not being very nice to him! ”
Good grief, after all these years….you’re still my friend Chuck!