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There's a little bit of Winnie-the-Pooh in all of us

May 27, 1999

As the mother of a 4-year-old, I have the privilege of reading children's books every night at bedtime.

I sincerely call it a privilege because it's my favorite part of the day. The closeness my son and I share as I read the same stories over and over is a feeling I cherish.

[cont. from lifestyle]

I know someday - probably about a decade from now - I'll look back and long for these days.

At least that's what my friends with teenagers say.

I'm not sure how I could survive on less sleep than I'm getting now, but they say, "Just wait."

OK, but until then I'll spend my evening hours enjoying "Harold and the Purple Crayon," "The Giving Tree," Curious George books and the many adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Pooh Bear is one of my - and my son's - favorites. Yes, I know Disney has capitalized on Christopher Robin's silly ole bear, and many kids and adults have bought into the craze with T-shirts and hats and countless other items. But if all the hoopla encourages them to read A.A. Milne's work, I say it's one fine marketing plan.

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Milne had wonderful insight into what makes us tick, why our personalities are the way they are and why they're always evolving.

In essence, there's a little bit of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in all of us.

Winnie is the extremely kind yet hopelessly undisciplined one. A Winnie friend is one you'd pick to share a late-night ice cream snack with. He'd never make you feel guilty.

To Piglet, others' feelings always come first. He's the one who would rather die than offend a friend.

Eeyore, the grumpy one, usually has the entire group catering to him because they don't want to hear his complaints when things don't go his way. And when does life ever go his way? There's only so much happiness to be had from moving thistles from here to there and back.

Christopher Robin is the leader among the chaos. He's the best one to turn to when there's a problem.

Rabbit is the taskmaster. If you want something done, go to him. If you want a friend to talk to, he probably won't have the time. He's too busy accomplishing things to develop relationships.

And while Gopher's a workaholic, too, he's not really all that productive. He works and works and works without planning ahead. Sometimes he forgets what his goal was ... if he ever had one.

Kanga, the grown-up kangaroo, is the nurturer among us. She's calm and steady. Dependable.

Tigger is the recklessly adventurous one. His goal in life is to have fun, and he wants to take the rest of us along for the ride. The Tigger person has great party ideas. Just don't ask him to do any of the planning.

Roo, the baby kangaroo, is the kid inside of us. He's so innocent yet can be quite rebellious.

Owl is ... surprise ... the wise one. He doesn't give advice unless asked. And who isn't fond of a person like that?

While most people take on one of these personas as a primary personality, some of each character can be found in all of us. Sometimes it just depends on the day or the mood.

Milne knew that some days we feel as carefree as Pooh. Other days we feel more like Eeyore.

At times I find my thoughts full of Pooh Bear-isms, and then I stop and think, "Oh, how silly." But it's not so silly to try to understand why people respond the way they do, is it?

I've even caught other people in this mode.

I was working on a project with one of my co-workers recently and she said, "Well, that would be a great help to us."

It sounded like a Pooh, or perhaps a Piglet, phrase to me.

She confirmed that suspicion when I asked what she had been reading to her grandchildren the night before.

We both shared a hearty laugh over that.

My son would approve.




Lisa Tedrick Prejean is Lifestyle editor for The Herald-Mail.

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