Sunday, January 1

New Year's Resolution number 1

Is it time to finally do something about the leaking fridge (& bank account!)? Go on a diet? Stop smoking?

A start of a new year is as good a time as any for some positive resolve, but the kid in me kicks in, reminding me of Charlie Brown’s motto:
No problem is so big or so complicated that it can't be run away from!
(Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, 1959-1962)

How comforting. A poster with these words hung on a wall of someone close to me throughout his youth. Which may explain why he spent several years travelling?

I know. You can run but you can’t hide. The power of denial and its consequences is illustrated beautifully in the funny, must-have gem of a picture book “There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon” by Jack Kent.

Billy Bixbee woke up one morning to find a sweet little dragon in his bedroom. A little dragon in the house sounds terribly exciting, but things start to go wrong when Billy’s mother insists that there’s no such thing as a dragon. 

At breakfast, the dragon sits on the table. “This sort of thing was not usually permitted, but there wasn’t much Billy’s mother could do about it. She had already said there was no such thing as a dragon. And if there’s no such thing, you can’t tell it to get down off the table.”

Ignored, the dragon gets bigger and bigger. When he fills the halls, mother goes through great lengths to stick to her denial: “cleaning the downstairs took mother all morning, what with the dragon in the way and having to climb in and out of windows to get from room to room”.

Gradually the dragon fills the whole house and when he smells a bread truck, it runs off with the house on its back.

Mother finally has to acknowledge that there really is a big problem, I mean dragon. Billy pats the dragon on the head and the dragon starts getting smaller. When mother wonders why it had to grow so big, Billy says: “I’m not sure, but I think it just wanted to be noticed.”

It’s true that not all problems can be managed by a pat on the head. However I admit that pretending that they don’t exist normally just allows them to get bigger, and they are much easier to deal with while they are still small. If you wish, you could also say that one of the morals of this charming fable is that you should listen to what others are trying to tell you, especially your children.

So, as the eccentric fashion designer Edna Mode tells Helen Parr (aka Elastigirl) in the 2004 Disney film “The Incredibles”:

Go! Confront the problem! Fight! Win! ...
And call me when you get back, darling, I enjoy our visits.

In the next post I will tackle the thorny subject of the dragons that remain big even when patted, but for now –

 Happy New Year 
good luck.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post, and great to hear the wise words of Charlie Brown again. He was referring to those dragons that don't respond to a pat, and a very reassuring thought it is!
    Happy New Year to you too, and thanks for starting the year off with a smile.


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