Life Lessons from "It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"

Great Pumpkin

A Halloween-time staple, I can’t recall the first time I viewed It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, though its imagery is as indicative of the season to me as jack-o-lanterns and witches hats, so often have I watched it. As I’ve grown older, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown never fails to lose its charm and consistently earns its title as a timeless classic. Entertaining children of all ages since 1966, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown may be short in minutes, but it is certainly long in wisdom and life lessons. The following is just a sampling of the lessons I’ve learned from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown:

“I got a rock.”
Poor Charlie Brown. When all his friends are taking inventory of their sweets and goodies after one round of trick-or-treating, Charlie lamely pulls a rock out of his bag. New house – again, his friends are gloating over their delicious treats and Charlie pulls up the rear with another rock in tow. It happens a third time. Sound familiar? Your co-worker announces she got the big promotion, your brother calls to share you’re going to be an aunt for the second time, and your college roommate posts on Facebook that she is engaged. All the while, you’re sitting at home watching the fourth episode that night of How I Met Your Mother, wondering if you’ll ever achieve the kind of success that everyone else seems to be enjoying. Life often throws rocks at us. As disheartening as it is to watch everyone around you get what he or she wants, the thing to remember is that your time will come. Stay optimistic and don’t forget to share in your friends’joys, otherwise, no one will be there to celebrate with you when you kill it on the LSATs or score that well-deserved raise.

“It’s a signed document. I guess if you have a signed document in your possession, you can’t go wrong. This year I’m really going to kick that football.”
We all know how this turns out. Once more, Charlie is flat on his back, staring up at Lucy who, having swiftly removed the football before Charlie could kick it, replies with a snotty yet pointed retort – “it’s not notarized”. Time after time, Charlie overcomes his suspicions of Lucy and attempts to give that football everything he’s got, each time landing with a tremendous thud on his back. Is Charlie just too trusting, naïve, gullible, or all of the above? Yes, he is. However, the message I take home is about determination. Some goals may seem to be perfectly attainable, but for whatever reason, you just can’t seem to connect with the ball. Does that mean you should give up? Hardly. All it means is that you’ve got to come at them from a different angle and find a way to work around the Lucys that are in the way. Also, pay attention to the details; but, like Charlie, you should never give up.

“Everyone tells me you are a fake, but I believe in you. P.S. If you really are a fake, don’t tell me. I don’t wanna know.”
The whole story revolves around Linus’s certainty that The Great Pumpkin, a mythical holiday figure, will arrive on Halloween night bearing toys for all the boys and girls, thus proving all of Linus’s jeering friends wrong, and that Linus’s steadfast devotion was worth missing out on the trick-or-treating. He withstands ridicule, being berated, and even disappointment when The Great Pumpkin fails to appear. Yet, even after being let down by his hero, Linus still finishes the movie adamant that The Great Pumpkin will appear and that next year will be the year! Many would consider his behavior delusional; I find it inspirational. It’s easy to be convinced by the tangible, physical world, but having faith in something larger than yourself and beyond your control can provide a sense of purpose and of self that few others can encourage. Is there a chance that what you believe in may not be real? Perhaps a teeny, tiny part of you would agree, but would your life be better off by not believing? There’s plenty of room for argument, but whatever you may believe in, my vote is to always believe in something.

“If you try to hold my hand, I’ll slug you!”
Despite her undying crush on Linus, Sally is still a girl who takes charge of her wants. She may want to spend the evening in a dark pumpkin patch with her Sweet Babboo, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to compromise any of her ideals. True, she may have only said it to plant the idea in Linus’s head – sometimes a girl has to give a boy more than a subtle hint –but that too is her prerogative. In a world where men are used to getting what they want, when they want it, a girl has to do what it takes to assert herself to make sure she gets what she deserves – however contradictory it may be. Is that unfair to men? Taking a page from Sally, I call it “restitution!”

“Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker.”
Speaks for itself.

These are but a few of the gems to be discovered and I encourage all my fellow World War I Flying Aces to find their own truths in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.


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  • Reply October 26, 2012


    Love. That is what I feel for this article. And you. You’re pretty amazing too :)

  • Reply October 27, 2012


    Take away the Comic Strip, and you still have the wisdom of Nikki Beckley. Charles Schulz was pretty good arresting things from our brains, no doubt. But the core of what is here is in [there], Nikki. Well said.~ Patrick Pongracz