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Monday, 1 February 2016

Finding the right room

We saw the Peanuts movie and prior to going, I reminisced over the comics. I used to borrow the thick, heavy hardback collections from my school library. I loved it. I still remember all the names and a great many 'plot' lines. What I hadn't realised, until reminded by the movie, is that Peanuts is about failure, not catastrophic failure, just everyday life never quite working out as you want it to. You may never get to kick the football or be able to fly a kite, no matter how often you try. Love is usually unrequited or bestowed upon someone who is blissfully unaware of your devotion. No one will ever share with you the excitement and belief of the Great Pumpkin will rise up. It's constantly about disappointment.
And that's ok. No matter what disappointment besets you, you get up and do it all over again with the same enthusiasm as you did the day before.
As a kid, I never found it sad. I wanted Charlie Brown to kick the ball but I knew each time Lucy would pull it away. And I laughed. Charlie Brown was still the 'hero' of the strip.
Not everyone got a prize - and they were disappointed. Like me, as a kid, every time I missed out.
It spoke to us, and charmed us, and we found it funny. I guess because it reflected life, our life that wasn't so terrible, but was full of tiny disappointments and difficulties. It was our 'normal'.

I do wonder if we've lost touch with something important along the way. We focus so much on telling our kids 'you can be anything you want to be', but what if you can't? Maybe it's like the kite, you can work very hard at it all, but maybe it still doesn't happen? We hand out awards for turning up and everybody is special. We invite the whole class, no one misses out...Yet at some point, disappointment will have to creep in. Maybe not until high school, but it will hit harder when it finally does.

Maybe we need to learn again be alright with that, like we were growing up, and teach our children that too.

Linus tells a wonderful story, way back in '77. "You know what? I think I've learned the secret of life. I went to the doctor yesterday because I had a sore throat... The nurse put me in a small room.. I could hear a kid in another room screaming his head off... When the doctor came in to see me, I told him I was glad I wasn't in that other room... "Yes," he said... "That kid will have to have his tonsils out...You're lucky you only have a mild inflammation". The secret of life is to be in the right room!"

I'm still not 100% sure what I think of all this, but I'm beginning to wonder if we've been parenting all wrong...

Linking with #ThisParentingLife

15 comments:

  1. It does make you wonder, doesn't it? I didn't really watch snoopy when I was a kid. Not much that I remember anyway. We saw the latest movie recently in the holidays and the kids loved it, but I couldn't help feeling that it was a little boring and that old Charlie Brown couldn't get anything right or have anything go his way. Everything was a struggle. I like your train of thought though. Maybe we need more examples of real life from characters like Charlie Brown.

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  2. My kids really enjoyed the new film. Something for everyone, I thought. Great insights though, I never thought of it this way!

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  3. I was never a big peanuts fan, and haven't seen the latest movie, but I agree that we need to be more realistic in our parenting. Although it's great that our kids have dreams, and I'm the first to support them, we also need to let them know that things always don't workout the way they want - and it's okay. Good food for thought.

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  4. I loved the movie and so did my boys - the youngest is now a keen Peanuts fan :) As for parenting, the more I think I've got this, the more I realise I don't......

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  5. I wasn't a huge fan of the Peanuts movie and it's interesting that the reason I wasn't a fan of it, is possibly for the reasons you've listed as to why you liked it lol! I do think that telling kids they can do anything is overwhelming, and I also hate that schools force everyone to be 'friends'. While I don't think kids need to be nasty, I also think it's important to teach them that it's ok to not be friends with everyone and that not everyone they meet will like them.

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  6. I didn't like the Peanuts movie because unlike the comic, Charlie Brown flies the kite and talks to the red haired girl and she likes him. That never happened in the comic...

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  7. I can't comment on the movie but I really don't mind some of the peanuts characters and stories but they have tended to be a little sad at times. Denyse

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  8. As a teacher I really wish we'd stop with the whole very child is a genius lie. Yes, we all have a bevy of wonderful traits that make us brilliant (with a hell of a lot of sweat and strain to get to that brilliance, let not forget that) but we're not all going to be the next Olympic athlete, or the next Taylor Swift. Let's be realistic shall we? Let's celebrate the wonderful qualities of our children and just try and bring up nice, caring and thoughtful little humans.

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  9. At its simplest the little red haired girl recognised the good in Charlie Brown and that was his reward for trying hard and being himself. I think that's ok.

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  10. I always loved the peanuts comic strip and TV specials and they were a big par of American culture growing up. We saw the movie and liked it. I totally see your points though and find it interesting the various messages and layers that are buried in Peanuts stories depending on who reads/watches it and when. How I absorbed it as a kid would be different than what I see now. I think as a kid I took away the messages of trying and being yourself most of all (not just Charlie Brown but the other characters as well)

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  11. As a parent of three children this post is very thought provoking! I know that I was keen to get all my children involved in team sports from an early age as I believe that that equips them to learn about and deal with losing and disappointment, as well as supporting each other and being a team player etc as well as having fun and winning some of the time.

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  12. I am a huge Snoopy fan from way back but I'm yet to see the movie. I think Peanuts like so many things is multi layered and people reading/watching see different things, a bit like an abstract painting. As someone once said "you're a good man, Charlie Brown." You don't have to be good at everything to be a good person, and that's ok too :)

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  13. I always thought Peanuts was a little sad but you are right in that the angle doesn't hurt.

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  14. We haven't seen the Peanuts movie yet…maybe a little too late now but I've always loved Snoopy. Just because. I went to Snoopyland in Tokyo - so many awesome Peanuts products. I've never really read into the deeper meaning of Peanuts. Just always loved Snoopy for being cute. Shallow, I know! LOL!

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  15. I've never told my kids they can be anything they want, I think that's an unrealistic expectation to put on kids. But I had never really noticed that Peanuts is about failure, it totally makes sense to me now.

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