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For the Love of Peanuts

Our parenting columnist shares how her kids' appreciation for Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang has inspired them musically.

Everyone loves Peanuts. Because the characters are so relatable.

We laugh at Charlie Brown’s perennial struggle to seek love and respect despite his fumbling, bumbling loser-streak ways. Why? Because we all have had Charlie Brown days when nothing goes right despite our most earnest, valiant attempts.

We’ve all had crabby Lucy days, as well. Days when we think we’re Queen of the World and want everyone else to do as we say.

What’s great about the characters is they're multi-faceted. Linus is both a philosopher and a complete neurotic about his blankie. We love him because he’s smart, profound even, yet still vulnerable.

Even minor characters like Sally earn our affection. Whether we are the baby of the family or know of one, we can appreciate her naïve world view, as well as her relentless affection for her crush, Linus.

That’s what’s great about all Charles Schultz characters. They are so passionate. Shroeder is a madman about Beethoven. Charlie Brown would give anything just to win one game. Lucy wants is to get her way as much as Linus wants his blankie.

And then there’s Snoopy, the most loveable character of all, because he is pure passion. With little or no dialogue in his thought bubbles, Snoopy expresses his passion through sheer action.

Whether he’s the WWII Flying Ace or stealing a kiss from Lucy, Snoopy is that part of all of us, who is fearless, adventurous, loyal and totally cool.

The Peanuts story lines tie directly to our hearts because so often they focus on things we care about—belonging, wanting respect and recognition from our peers.

 The social commentary speaks to adults while the kids can enjoy the humor of kids roaming about completely independently of adults, except for the occasional “Waa-waa, waugh” of a teacher.

As a kid, I owned several Peanuts paperback collections, and I kept some of them. The pages are yellowed and dog-eared. I shared them with my kids as soon as they learned to read.

But my kids never really got that into Peanuts until I took them on a vacation to the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa a few years ago.

The museum is quite elegant. On the walls hang some of the earliest drawings of the characters, stills from the TV show and all the memorabilia you’d expect.

There’s a great Ice Rink and, of course, the required gift shop, where you’re lucky if you can get out of there for less than $100 bucks.

After we visited the museum, both my kids started drawing Snoopy. They can draw him with ease now.

Recently, my ex-husband took them to visit the museum again and filmed the video on this page.

My ex is a musician and artist. He’s inspired them to appreciate art and music with the same passion Peanuts characters have for their ambitions.

When I watch my kids play the Peanuts Theme song now, I’m proud that they are doing their part to keep the spirit of Peanuts alive.

We even have our own little Charlie Brown Christmas tree this year.

Charlie Brown: Thanks for the Christmas card you sent me, Violet. 
Violet: I didn't send you a Christmas card, Charlie Brown. 
Charlie Brown: Don't you know sarcasm when you hear it? 

From my Peanuts Gang to yours, and to the Charlie Brown in all of us, Merry Christmas.

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