As the teaser trailer for Disney’s Christopher Robin brings Winnie The Pooh back into the spotlight, it’s a good time to reflect on the valuable lessons this special little bear has taught us.
Fans around the world were sent right back to their childhood when they saw Winnie The Pooh brought to life in the first teaser trailer for Christopher Robin.
The film, due for release later this year, will star Ewan McGregor as an adult Christopher Robin.
As Christopher struggles with adult responsibilities, Pooh Bear magically arrives to whisk him away to the Hundred Acre Wood. There, he will reunite with other childhood friends including Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore.
Together, they will help Christopher Robin learn how to bring the fun back into his adult life.
As a life-long fan of the bear with very little brain, words cannot describe how excited I am for this movie.
The New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh was my first favourite cartoon. Pooh’s Grand Adventure is one of my favourite Disney films. I own a large collection of plushes, and the full set of Funko Pops. It is safe to say that I am a fan of all things Hundred Acre Wood.
While I happily await the new lessons the gang has to teach Christopher Robin, I can’t help reflecting on the lessons Pooh taught me as a child. Lessons that we can all carry into adult life.
1. Pooh teaches how too much of a good thing can be bad.
In Winnie The Pooh And The Honey Tree, Pooh decides to invite himself over for lunch at Rabbit’s House.
While there, he massively over indulges in his favourite food — honey — and becomes trapped in Rabbit’s front door.
He is trapped there for quite a long time before digesting enough honey that his friends can pull him out.
The short ends humorously, with Pooh accidentally stuck in the tree from which he had earlier tried to steal honey. However he does learn from the experience, as he is rarely seen eating more than one pot of honey at a time after this point.
For children, the lesson here is simple and literal: Too much candy and junk food will make you sick or overweight.
When dealing with adults, things can be taken a bit further, with far more dire consequences if the lesson is not learned.
Dire consequences? From not learning from a cartoon bear eating too much honey? Am I reading too much into this? Not at all.
What if we replace ‘Honey’ with ‘Alcohol’ or ‘Gambling’? Now you get the point.
In moderation, these things are harmless fun. Too much of either one could ruin your life.
2. ‘Happy’ looks different for different people.
‘Donkey For A Day’, an early episode of The New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh, begins with Piglet watching Eeyore’s evening routine of sitting alone on a hill. He becomes worried about the Donkey’s seemingly constant gloominess.
Wanting to help Eeyore, Piglet enlists the rest of their friends to spend a day cheering him up.
Ignoring Eeyore’s protests, the wood’s residents all take turns doing their favourite things with him. Predictably, each activity ends badly for Eeyore.
Piglet, the mastermind of the whole plan, fails to think of a fun activity. He joins Eeyore on the hill that evening to apologise for being unable to cheer him up, only to learn that Eeyore was never actually unhappy to begin with.
Eeyore’s favourite thing is to sit and stargaze. In the end, Piglet made him happiest by simply taking a step back and listening to what he wanted.
Do you have a friend who doesn’t like to go out?
They are not necessarily depressed. Your friend does not need to be pushed to get out more. They probably won’t ‘Like it if they try it!’.
Chances are, your friend – Shock, horror! – just genuinely doesn’t like going out much. Your idea and their idea of ‘fun’ may be very different things, and that’s okay.
Some people enjoy quieter pastimes, like, say, staying home and watching old Winnie The Pooh movies. So, kick back and plan a night in for a marathon. Your homebody friend will be happy, and you may have more fun than you thought.
3. Parents can be strict, but it does not mean they don’t love you.
‘Find Her, Keep Her’, one of the series’ most beloved episodes, opens with Rabbit adopting a displaced baby bird after a storm.
Little Kessie, like any newborn, proves a huge disruption to Rabbit’s highly organised world. Despite the rocky start, the pair eventually form a close parent-child-like bond.
The growing strength of this bond leads Rabbit to forbid Kessie from learning to fly. If she can fly, she would leave him to fly south in the winter.
Kessie ultimately defies Rabbit’s wishes, taking flying lessons from Owl.
Rabbit, though heartbroken at Kessie’s departure, arrives just in time to lend her his support before she heads South.
When Piglet is confused at Rabbit’s sadness, having believed he didn’t like Kessie, Pooh responds with this iconic quote:
“Sometimes, people care too much. I believe it’s called… Love.”
We’ve all been there. At some point in nearly every person’s life, a parent doles out a punishment, or introduces a restriction that their child believes is too harsh.
The child might be upset, and even angry… what they usually don’t realise is that their parents have most likely taken this action because they are worried about them.
Ultimately, though, as is also taught in this episode, children must eventually be allowed to make decisions on their own.
4. Families are built on love, not just blood.
Tired of being “The onliest one,” The Tigger Movie follows Tigger as he sets out to find his real family.
After a series of misadventures in which the other residents of the Hundred Acre Wood try, but fail to help him, Tigger runs off into a snowstorm to look for his Family Tree.
His friends soon set out to find him, and when an argument between Rabbit and Tigger triggers an avalanche, Tigger bounces his friends up to safety in the branches of what he had believed to be his Family Tree.
Tigger eventually realises that he had a family all along — his friends.
The Tigger Movie teaches an important and enduring lesson on what it means to be a Family, as well as the different forms that families can take.
Most families are bonded by blood, but this is not always the case. Some families – like Tigger’s – are built from very close groups of friends who care for each other. Others include step-parents, or half-siblings.
Whatever the case, it is the bonds of love between them that are most important. Those bonds are what make people a Family.
5. Focus on a person’s strengths, rather than their weaknesses.
Early in Piglet’s Big Movie, Pooh and the gang hatched yet another crazy scheme to collect honey from the local bees by luring them into a false hive.
Piglet, stumbling upon his friends while the plan is already underway, is told he is too small to be of any help.
As with many of the gang’s plots, things quickly go awry. The plan only succeeds thanks to Piglet’s quick thinking, though his efforts go unnoticed.
It is not until later in the film, when Piglet has gone missing, that the others remember and appreciate all the little things he does that help them in big ways.
Not everyone is good at everything, and that is perfectly alright.
However, everyone does have something that they are good or even the best at. A skill that can help at the most unexpected of times.
That skill, whether it be something small (cooking perfect eggs) or large (Olympic level sport talent) should be respected and acknowledged.
6. The unknown is only scary while it remains unknown.
In Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, panic ensues after little Roo finds a Heffalump footprint near Rabbit’s House. The gang is terrified, having only ever heard terrible things about Heffalumps.
Rabbit leads a hunt for the creature, leaving Roo behind for safety reasons.
Roo, more curious than scared through the whole ordeal, embarks on his own Heffalump quest, soon capturing a young Heffalump named Lumpy.
He quickly learns that Heffalumps are not nearly as frightening as his friends thought, and the pair become fast friends.
As Roo and all his friends learn, it is easy to be scared of something we have never seen, or know little about.
Once we become better informed about these things, they are not so scary after all.
A few lucky ones might even find something wonderful along the way.
7. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
Christopher Robin, struggling to tell Pooh that he starts school the next day, leaves his friend with some important advice:
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Each section of the quote relates to one of Pooh Bear’s friends. Bravery to Piglet, strength to Tigger, and smarts to Rabbit.
Along their quest to find the apparently missing Christopher Robin during Pooh’s Grand Adventure, each friend encounters a situation in which this advice would have come in handy.
Unfortunately, all of them struggle with self-doubt. The fact that Pooh fails to accurately remember Christopher’s words doesn’t help matters.
It is only later, bolstered by Pooh’s belief in them, that Piglet, Tigger and Rabbit overcome their insecurities.
We are all capable of more than we believe possible, if we put our minds to it and push the limits.
Surrounding yourself with other people who believe in your abilities, or even just one person, will help accomplish your goals.
8. Reading and spelling are very important.
On two occasions, first in Pooh’s Grand Adventure and again in the 2011 Winnie The Pooh Film, the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood are sent on dangerous wild-goose-chase adventures to rescue Christopher Robin
In both cases, this happens because Christopher Robin misspelled a word in his note or Owl failed to read it properly.
While everyone does make it out of these adventures okay, there are a few close calls.
Most of the misspellings in Pooh films, such as ‘Hunny’ and ‘Rabbit’s Howse’, are innocent and harmless.
However, the above instances show how a misspelled word in the wrong place can potentially cause very big problems.
It is an early lesson for children, and a reminder for adults, of why learning how to read and spell properly is so important.
I look forward to many more life-lessons from Pooh and friends when Christopher Robin hits theatres in August 2018.