I was privileged recently to see a middle school production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” I say privileged because not only were the performers adorable (of course), confident and committed, but they really brought home the simple but important themes of the show that we could all stand to be reminded of:

Lucy is a crabby person. A very crabby person. She could use some of our tips on being a leader instead of just a boss. But Lucy is also filled with determination. No one would expect Lucy to be unsuccessful in her work life. And she is smart enough to learn how to deal better with people. Determined leadership can take you far.

is an amazing negotiator. She has taken the lessons of being a younger sibling and her emotional intelligence to heart and uses them with her friends and with her teachers. There is no doubt that she can win an argument or close a deal. Emotional intelligence is an important element in success.

Schroeder is a creative force to be reckoned with. He does not let the the opinions of his peers make him question his passion or his choices. He even brings his friends into his world and shows them other ways of thinking through their celebration of Beethoven Day. Schroeder is already using his marketing skills to promote what he is passionate about and he is thinking like an entrepreneur

Linus is an innovator. He thinks outside the blanket. He is always ten steps ahead of the other kids, but he is empathetic enough to want them all to understand with him, not to want to leave them behind. When Linus ditches that blanket, watch out! He’s not afraid to come up with something new.

And Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown is my favorite. On first look, Charlie Brown could be depressing. He is depressed. He is lonely. He is unfulfilled and has no self-esteem. But Charlie Brown has a quality that the other characters—and we all—need to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. Charlie Brown has hope. No matter what has happened, Charlie Brown starts over every day sure that today will be better. Today is the first day of the rest of his life. Today has every possibility of being the best day ever.

And so I find myself inspired: to persevere, to lead, to build, to be passionate, to reach out, to innovate. And, yes, to hope. And to start each day fresh.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative