Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good Grief



Hello Optimists,

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the never ending supply of Christmas movies on TV. After a long drive home last night, I made it just in time to watch a classic with my mom: A Charlie Brown Christmas. Even though we watch it every year and know the lines by heart, we can't help but to make an event of it....and I bet you can relate- you know you love Lucy's crazy antics, Linus' ever-present blanket, and that oh-so-cute blockhead, Charlie Brown. These stories have really become a cultural icon- as this Christmas special has been playing since 1965 and you can buy a "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" at Urban Outfitters for $15! I've always loved the cute little characters and the catchy melodies playing in the background, but good grief, I noticed last night that you learn a lot more than you realize from Charlie Brown!

I bet this is why Charles Schultz's stories have endured the test of time and continue to be so popular with kids and adults too. So this got me thinking about all the great things we have learned from this little bald man, and I came across this quote that I thought was especially insightful...

In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. -Charlie Brown


Now, I will be the first to admit that I used to love the text books that had the answers listed in the back. Homework done in half the time? How convenient! But when I stop to think about it, having the answers displayed in front of me didn't really help me out at all. Every time I had a bit of trouble arriving at an answer, a quick flip to the back of the text put all of my worries at ease. There, after the glossary, was the answer in black and white....just like that. Sooo what exactly did that do for me? Well, I thought it didn't really matter. What did matter was that when the teacher came around to check our work, mine was complete. And correct.  Nice! But then when it came time for a test, I still needed to learn how to do all of those problems anyway....so I ended up doing more work trying to teach myself right before the exam than if I had just tried to work it out for homework. What was my 4th grade self thinking?!

So I guess it's a good thing that our book of life has no answers in the back. And I think Charlie Brown was trying to tell us that taking the easy way out doesn't always make it easier for us. Knowing the end result is of no use if we don't know how to get there. It's up to us to choose what we need to do right now. We need to do the best we can to get to the place we want to be in the future...but getting there isn't as easy as we may want it to be. So though we may be tempted to sneek a peek in the back just to catch a glimpse- let me just get an idea, just see if I'm on the right track- we need to realize that it won't do us much good. So take it from Charlie Brown, finding our answer to life takes more than just flipping to the back of the book.

Keep Smiling,
Optimal Optimist

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