Monday, Apr. 15, 2024

Following The Charles Schultz Philosophy

A few weeks ago, my father sent me an e-mail that’s been circulating on the Internet since around 2000—The Philosophy of Charles Schultz. In this e-mail, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip asks you questions that eventually show what’s truly important in life. According to a spokesperson at the Charles M. Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif., the world-famous cartoonist didn’t actually pen the quiz attributed to him. Nevertheless, the information in the quiz is what struck me, not necessarily who is credited with writing it.

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A few weeks ago, my father sent me an e-mail that’s been circulating on the Internet since around 2000—The Philosophy of Charles Schultz. In this e-mail, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip asks you questions that eventually show what’s truly important in life. According to a spokesperson at the Charles M. Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif., the world-famous cartoonist didn’t actually pen the quiz attributed to him. Nevertheless, the information in the quiz is what struck me, not necessarily who is credited with writing it.

After I read the quiz, I found myself thinking about how the questions could be changed to pertain to our world. And I realized that in many ways our quest for success in competition often overides the reason most of us started in equestrian sports—a love of the horse.

So, here’s my version of the quiz:
1.    Name the last five USEF national grand green hunter winners.
2.    Name the last five winners of the USDF Intermediaire II Horse of the Year title.
3.    Name 10 people who have won the USEF Jimmy Williams Trophy.
4.    Name the last half dozen winners of the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. 

How did you do? I’m sure there will be some whiz kids out there who can answer three or all four questions correctly, but the point that the Charles Schultz quiz makes is that few of us remember the champions or award winners of yesterday. The quiz says, “They are not second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.” 

Here’s part 2:
1.    List three trainers who taught you about horses and horsemanship.
2.    Name three horses who have taught you something worthwhile.
3.    Name five horsemen who have inspired you.
4.    Think of five horse people you enjoy spending time with.

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Answering these questions is much easier, isn’t it? The Charles Schultz lesson really says that the people who make a difference in your life aren’t the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They’re the ones who care.

This time of year, in particular, many of us are thinking about awards. We’ve spent December anxiously checking points on various association websites, and now we’re receiving invitations to year-end awards banquets and planning the 2008 show season. And while these activities are certainly a vital part of our world, they shouldn’t necessarily be the most important ones.

A friend asked me last weekend if I’d made my New Year’s resolutions. I hadn’t. But as I drove home that evening, I recalled this e-mail that I’d saved in my inbox. Now one of my primary resolutions for 2008 is to focus less on how much I accomplish through ribbons and points but instead more on the process of learning and growing as a horseman.

There have been many, many people (and horses) who have taught me through the years, and I hope there will be many more as I continue on this everlasting journey of horsemanship. And the Charles Schultz Philosophy reminded me that it’s the people and horses in your life—not the awards—that you most remember.

Tricia Booker

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