Commentary – A lesson to be learned

Chris Clegg

Charlie Brown had just lost another heart-breaking baseball game. As always, he was blaming himself for the loss and not his trusty teammates.

“Don’t be discouraged Charlie Brown,” Shermy tells him. “In this life we live, there are always some bitter pills to be swallowed.”

“If it’s all the same with you, I’d rather not renew my prescription!” replies our lovable loser.

Only Charlie Brown can take a painful act such as losing and turn it into something funny.

Most of us are taught from a young age to never give up. Our parents tell us it builds character. If that is the case, Charlie Brown has more character than anyone.

However, when it is time to throw in the towel and admit defeat? Live for another day?

It is said that life is sports and sports is life. There is little question that if we’re on the baseball field, ice hockey rink, volleyball or basketball court, that we should give it our best. Never give up. The lessons learned in sports can help us in life.

But that can only extend so far. In the real game we call life there are times when we have to give up. It can be financial loss, a broken marriage, or a broken relationship. There is a time to throw in the towel.

In politics, many a time it’s best to forgive and pick another battle to win on a different day.

Aesop’s famous fable tells us of a fox trying to jump high to reach a bunch of grapes. He finally fails but says they were probably too sour anyway. Isn’t that like trying your best, knowing your going to lose, but admitting that winning isn’t so sweet? How ridiculous!

Persistence is a trait we should all strive toward. Persistence is the driving force behind man in many of the world’s great success stories and inventions. Didn’t Thomas Edison try hundreds of combinations before discovering the light bulb?

Of course, a little dumb luck always helps. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in a Petri dish by accident. Would it be most of us were so lucky!

But back to Charlie Brown. Charles Schulz paints us a character with more persistence above any other. Yet he fails again and again and again.
It’s contrary to what we teach our children. Usually, if you persist, you should eventually succeed. At least once? Shouldn’t Charlie Brown win a baseball game, win a game of checkers, fly a kite, or kiss the Little Red-Haired Girl?

Schulz was once criticized for using religion in so many of strips. His reply was simple: he was the author so he could darn well write whatever he pleased.

Schulz was a master at using humour mixed with lessons. While most us enjoy the cartoons for humour, many authors used their strips to teach about life’s lessons. Most readers don’t even take a minute to digest what they are reading or think about the message being delivered.

Charlie Brown was a lovable loser. He failed but never gave up. It’s a lesson well worth noting.

However, Charlie Brown’s biggest win was never noted in the strip. He is to this day one of the most beloved cartoon characters in history.
Whether he knew it or not, his persistence paid off

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