Leadership Lessons I Learned from Peanuts-Charlie Brown

charlie brownIn 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.

charlie brown doctor

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.

Charlie-Brown with red haired girl

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I Dreamed of Being White

by Lena Arnold

Last night I had a dream.

i have a dreamIt was nothing like Martin Luther King’s Dream.  Mine was more rooted in today’s current reality.  See because last night I dreamed I was white.  In this dream my family and I drove to the park via a rural township and we weren’t almost run off the road because the person driving in the truck with the giant tires and confederate flag noticed brown arms in the window.

In my dream I walked through life never being called a nigger.  My children were never called spic, wetback, or sand nigger because people couldn’t figure out their nationality so they just called them whatever they thought they were.

We were never told to “Go back to Africa, or Puerto Rico” or debated against when we tried to say “We’ve never been to Africa and we aren’t from Puerto Rico, but even if we were, why should it matter since your ancestors came here from someplace else and Puerto Rico is a US Colony.”  But in my dream I never had to argue against stupidity.

In my dream I never had to explain to my Darwinist believing friends that Darwinism by its very nature of being an “ism” is divisive and more importantly it is a pillar of racism because it supports the erroneous notion that man evolves to a higher order of man and at the top of this evolutionist food chain is the white male.  In my dream I was okay with that because I was now the one living at the top of this chain and as such I never had to:

  1. Fear being lost in a rural area and not breathing a sigh of relief until I saw at least one living face who looked like mine…
  2. Worry that in the blink of an eye my world could be turned upside down by one person saying, “I just saw a black guy with a gun…”
  3. Live with the constant uneasiness of sending my sons off to college wondering if they will make it back home alive…
  4. Struggle with the automatic anxiety that kicks in whenever a police car is behind me, wondering if I will be pulled over, and if I am, will this be the time…
  5. Panic and run when a police officer says “Stop” because the fight or flight mechanism has been encoded into my DNA from slavery, the Jim Crow era, and institutional racism…
  6. Be apprehensive about taking the medicine my white physician has just prescribed because of the routine practice of experimenting on my ancestors both recent and long ago…
  7. Watch the news BOLO bulletins and say, “please don’t be black, please don’t be black.”
  8. Wonder why the KKK is not labeled a terrorist organization and allowed to exist on American soil.

This dream was so liberating because in it I never had to check a box asking my race or ethnicity and when I did I could check white and I always got called in for the interview and even if I didn’t get the job I never had to wonder if it was because I was black.  My family could go on vacation and not be stared at like Zoo animals, with people thinking in their heads “An intact black family! OMG They do exist!”

In my dream OJ was guilty! Emphatically and automatically! G-U-I-L-T-Y!

This was not Martin’s dream and in it I did not care if little white boys and girls could play with little black boys and girls could play together. The mountaintop was all mine and I did not have to care whether or not other people made it up there with me.  I could say and believe that in America anyone could make it if they just “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps,” and I didn’t have to care whether or not they even actually had boots.

I had the luxury of saying things like,

“Most people are not racist and I’m tired of hearing about it!”

“All lives matter!”

“What are these people angry about? That cop was afraid for his life even if the guy was running away, his back turned, and he had no weapon.”

“Well, black people kill more of each other than cops do.”

“I’m not racist.  I didn’t own a slave.  Why are you looking at me like it’s my fault?”

“My (one) black friend agrees with me and they said…”

silentOh to be able to ignore institutionalized racism and all its myriad complexities! (Contented Sigh!)

In my dream I could go anywhere and breathe free.  Walk where I wanted without fear of reprisal.  I could dream big! No matter how mediocre or evil I was I could be PRESIDENT!

Then I woke up!

Then I cried!

Then I rejoiced!

I rejoiced because God reminded me that I am not an accident.   My family and I are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image despite what some small minds think.  I was reminded that I am a member of a CHOSEN GENERATION, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, and A HOLY NATION.

God reminded me that evil does not escape His eye and He will punish evil and reward righteousness.  In the end, the only question that really remains is whether or not the non-oppressed parties will remain silent, or will they stand up for righteousness and fulfill Martin’s dream, for despite my dream, his really is the one ordained by God.