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"On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of his pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of toys for all the children!"
If you’re not familiar with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, here is the short of it: Instead of going trick-or-treating, Linus waits in excited anticipation in the "most sincere" pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to arrive, but receives only disappointment. It doesn’t end any better for the other characters either. Sally misses "tricks-or-treats" and Charlie Brown is stuck with a bag full of rocks. What kind of kids’ show is this?
A group of optimistic young people are placing their faith in things that consistently disappoint them. That’s a pretty relatable theme, isn’t it? But what keeps us coming back year after year when the show ends on such a low?
Charles M. Schulz, its creator, said it best: "Linus represents a special quality of hope and belief, against all odds." This, along with Charlie Brown’s unwavering ability to bounce back from failure, seems to resonate with young and old alike.
So in the spirit of Halloween this year, let’s take a self-inventory. Who might you be if you were one of the characters? Do you bounce back easily? Do you have unwavering hope?
And, more importantly, how do you treat others with whom you don’t see eye-to-eye? Or those who have convictions that make you uncomfortable? Would you abandon them in the pumpkin patch or care enough to look for them in the middle of the night? Or maybe … at least have respect enough to agree to disagree?
Wherever you fit, perhaps a lesson from the Peanuts gang might do us all a bit of good.
Abraham Twerski wrote a book titled, That’s Not a Fault … It’s a Character Trait, which goes through the unique character traits of the Peanuts’ characters. The book not only identifies the challenges of the traits, it provides a frame for what we can do to improve on them when we notice one in us. It’s a fun, quick read.
This fall, take that extra moment to connect with someone and show your appreciation. Send a fun, Peanuts-kind-of-message to a coworker. Offer words of encouragement to a struggling family member. It can make all the difference in someone’s day.
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