By GGTW Co-founder and contributing editor Tricia Yacovone-Biagi
When I was a kid, I loved reading the comics (or “funny pages” as we used to call them) in the newspaper every day. The old school kind of paper that still smelled of the ink that sometimes smudged onto your fingers when you turned the pages. I could hardly wait for the Sunday edition, since that’s when the comics were in full color, which made that day’s paper the most special of the week. Over the years, I realized that I learned a few things inside those comic strips, but probably no character taught me more life lessons than my favorite two-dimensional furry friend Snoopy, of the Peanuts gang. So I thought just for fun this week, I’d put together a list of the Snoopy lessons that remain relevant to me decades later.
Snoopy never suffers from the Imposter Syndrome. Ever. He takes on the most amazing characters and challenges, and never once thinks he can’t pull it off. Sure, most of us are familiar with his stints as the WWI Flying Ace and his service as Thanksgiving chef when Charlie Brown accidentally helps Peppermint Patty invite the entire Peanuts cast to his house for dinner. But with his quick thinking and ingenuity, kindness and hard work, Snoopy saves Thanksgiving for all the kids, and most importantly, he never lets the naysayers throw him off his game. His self-confidence shines through no matter what he tries, and he relentlessly chases down whatever his imagination contrives, such as:
- Easter bunny
- Figure skater
- Golf pro
- Undersea explorer
Snoopy perseveres. Obviously Snoopy doesn’t always succeed at everything he tries (the author thing doesn’t go so well for him), but he never lets that stop him from trying again. One of his greatest lessons in perseverence comes from an incident that happens when he figure skates on the town pond. In this scene, Snoopy appears joyfully skating circles around Lucy and her friend, both of whom become annoyed with his “fancy figures.” In their spite and jealousy, the naysaying girls call him a “nuisance.” They even go so far as to kick him off the pond! So what does Snoopy do? He finds a frozen bird bath and resumes his beautiful skating there instead. He doesn’t let those naysayers stop him from achieving his dreams, and neither should any of us.
Snoopy is a great friend. We see this quite obviously when he saves Thanksgiving for his perfectly imperfect human Charlie Brown. Or when he stands on his head next to Charlie Brown when the boy gets thrown upside down during a baseball game. But did you know that when Woodstock was too afraid to fly south for the winter, Snoopy decided to migrate with him on foot? And when Woodstock wanted to fly in a hot air balloon, Snoopy made him one out of a basketball. The lesson here? A good friend encourages you. A great friend helps make your dreams happen!
Snoopy tells it like he sees it. Maybe since he is the canine in the bunch, he can say things the humans are too afraid or embarrassed to utter out loud. That’s one of the things I love about him! Instead of accepting the status quo, or just going along with the crowd, Snoopy will share his thoughts, some of which may even be what people are really thinking…like the time he looks at the snowflakes during a storm and says, “Actually, they ALL look alike to me!” And he teaches us to look at things from a different perspective, like when he opines that “kites have tails to let you know when they’re happy.” It’s a great reminder that not everyone shares the same viewpoint, and it’s important to listen to others.
Snoopy expresses gratitude by dancing his heart out. Many years ago I watched a documentary about Peanuts creator Charles Schulz in which he explained that he simply draws bunch of random loopy lines to provide the effect of the dancing Snoopy. Easy for him to say, right?? But the real lesson here is that Snoopy dances with complete abandon and glee over any little thing that makes him feel thankful. For example, when he receives a letter addressed to him as “Dear Sir” he goes full-on dance happy, elated that someone called him “sir.” Since then, we’ve learned that giving thanks can actually make you happier. So even though you may not be able to dance like Snoopy does, you can improve your well-being by appreciating the little things as if you could.
I wonder if anyone else has learned something from Snoopy or some other timeless character? Drop us a line about it. We’d love to hear your perspective!