In my final installment of Leadership Lessons I learned from Peanuts I thought it only fitting that I end with Charlie Brown since of all the Peanuts characters he is without a doubt the real leader in the Peanuts universe despite his plethora of self doubts and self deprecating remarks.
I like the way Wikipedia describes Charlie Brown as “the central protagonist of the long-running comic strip Peanuts … who is a “lovable loser…one of the great American archetypes and a popular and widely recognized cartoon character. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Brown). The site’s writer further states that “Charlie Brown is characterized as a person who frequently suffers, and as a result is usually nervous and lacks self-confidence. He shows both pessimistic and optimistic attitudes: on some days, he is reluctant to go out because his day might just be spoiled, but on others, he hopes for the best and tries as much as he can to accomplish things.”
The character’s creator, Charles M. Schulz, has said of the character that “[He] must be the one who suffers because he is a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than winning.” Despite this, Charlie Brown does not always suffer, as he has experienced some happy moments and victories through the years, and he has sometimes uncharacteristically shown self-assertiveness despite his frequent nervousness. (Wikipedia 2017)
Yes, I did quote a lot from Wikipedia. The reason being is that they did such a great job describing Charlie Brown so, let’s keep it real, why rack my brain trying to figure out how to say it better. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Brown)
I will only add that it is these very characteristics that actually make him a leader. Perhaps one of the greatest leaders of all time.
John Maxwell, an experts on leadership describes the roles of the positional leader and the permissional leader. The positional leader is appointed and his or her power only lies within the appointment. People follow them because they have to not because they want to. Whereas a permission leader is one others willingly follow because they trust that person. (https://powermindscommunity.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/the-4-levels-of-leadership-john-c-maxwell/)
REAL LEADERS LEAD OTHER LEADERS
Virtually everyone on the Peanuts universe is a leader in their own right, and Charlie Brown leads all of them.
Think about it, despite how much the neighborhood kids might rag on Charlie Brown, every spring (dog included) they willingly follow him out to that baseball field. They know they are going to lose, but they go anyway! Go figure. Charlie Brown may lose, but he is certainly not a loser.
Charlie Brown teaches us all the importance of seeking help when we need it and that he price of therapy is never too high-although I do question his choice of doctors.
Nevertheless it cannot be argued that he is willing to see his faults and overcome them. He looks out for his little sister, he protects those who are smaller, he fights for the underdog, and he is a hardworking, responsible kid. He’s like the perfect boy you’d want your daughter to date. If that little red haired girl knows what’s good for her she’d be getting her dibs in right now.
REAL LEADERS MODEL TENACITY. They KEEP ON TRYING Despite the setbacks
What I like about him is that he NEVER gives up right? Not on baseball, not on kicking that football, not on kite flying, and definitely not on winning the love of that little red haired girl. he openly acknowledges his low grade depression (and I use the word loosely because what Charlie Brown calls depression is really the stuff that gets all of us down from day to day isn’t it?) but he does not let it stop him from living.
He might go to sleep worried, but he wakes up ready to face another day! That’s what’s up Charlie Brown. You taught me, and millions just like me the importance of tenacity. In the end he does kick the football (albeit only once), wins a baseball game, and actually gets the little red haired girl! You go Charlie Brown! You keep us all believing in ourselves.