What The Parks and Recreation Characters Can Teach Us
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This past summer, I was stuck in a spot of utter confusion–as many were. Most days, I could not grasp what state the world was in. I had time to spare indoors, and of course, I gave into some guilty pleasure show-watching.

Truthfully, I am not the biggest Netflix or network watcher. When I am at school I hardly ever look at my laptop besides for class and assignments. However, when I find myself mad with stress, anxiety, or sadness, I need something to cheer me up. I typically turn to a thirty-minute episode of The Office, which fulfills my need for laughter and distraction.

As I said, this summer was a doubtful one. My city was in shambles and our nation seemed to be on the same path. My small release at the end of the day became Parks and Recreation. And honestly, I have never learned so much from a silly, little show.

Firstly, I love a good sense of humor and a positive attitude. Leslie Knope obviously embodies these two traits and never fails to greet her coworkers with a smile. Her energy is contagious and while the show is absolutely a comedy, one can see the characters truly appreciate her and all she does for them. They actually outwardly mention her compassion on multiple occasions, which made me think about it quite a bit. Many other characters are simply so sweet and overly happy such as Andy Dwyer. I can definitely be positive even when my world is crashing down around me––even when my park does not make the city budget.

Secondly, the characters live in Pawnee, Indiana. The show does not lie about the city's ultimate reputation of being boring and small, but the parks and rec office love their city and each other. Even though their jobs seem mind-numbing at times, they put on their best attitude, for the most part. At the end of the day, they do what is right for the city they love and those they love around them. That kind of community is definitely hard to find sometimes, but a lot closer to you than you may think it to be. It simply takes a little effort and an open heart.

Lastly, each character holds a special confidence that I think everyone should emulate. Whether it be Leslie deciding to run as councilwoman or believing she can become the first woman president, or Tom Haverford who has insane entrepreneurial ventures circulating his brain at all times, each person has something unique to share that I think is valuable. Often in our culture we "stick to what we are good at." We are risk-averse and need a huge push to even try something we want to do in the long-run. Oftentimes, if we fail, we just ignore our initial goal or idea out of shame. These habits are downright unhealthy. If we lived with half as much confidence as Donna and Tom we would be ruling our workplace. If we utilized our positive future-thinking like Leslie or Chris Traver, we could be invincible (Okay, not literally, but you get the picture).

While all this may seem insanely light-hearted and trivial, I believe it brings some food-for-thought and a lot of good laughs. I highly suggest watching an episode of Parks and Recreation the next time you are in a funk.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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