When my kids were very young, each of them had a favorite movie that we viewed over and over (and over).
As I watched replay after replay, I noticed the shows had a few things in common. They were animated productions made by Disney, and embedded in their storylines were life lessons that served as a benefit not only to kids, but also to moms, dads and grown-ups in general .
"The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," is one of my favorites, probably because it is brimming with wisdom, which is delivered through the adventures of a young boy’s bedroom toys. From Pooh, and the other inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood, we can glean knowledge about friendship and love that often comes from the least likely of sources. (If you haven’t seen the movie recently, I highly recommend it.) The lessons taught by Pooh and his friends are pertinent, no matter what your age.
They teach us about universal truths. Little Piglet asks Pooh, “How do you spell love?” Pooh responds, “You don’t spell it… you feel it.”
They teach us about finding the beauty in everything. “Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them,” Pooh says.
They teach us that friends have each other’s backs, or in this case tails, and when your friend loses his, you help him nail it back on. In the words of Eeyore, “It’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it.”
They teach us about the importance of perspective, especially for those of us who value food. “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing.”
And, they teach us to love ourselves unconditionally. “The wonderful thing about tiggers is tiggers are wonderful things!”
The movie shows even the most innocent of us all experience fear and anxiety — not to mention our own version of Heffalumps and Woozles that visit us in our dreams, or more often, nightmares.
We all need self-confidence, or in Pooh’s words, “You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Words to live by.
Life is better with a little sweetness, or in the case of Pooh, honey (even when we are in denial). “I wasn’t going to eat it. I was only going to taste it.”
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make us happy. Or in Pooh’s words, “No one can be sad when they have a balloon.” (Delete balloon and substitute a fresh cup of coffee, chocolate or glass of wine — take your pick.)
When you get stuck in life, sometimes it's best to trust in a higher power. Tigger is stuck in a tree and can’t get down when he hears a strange voice. “Say, who are you?” he asks. “I’m the narrator,” is the answer. “Oh well, please, for goodness’ sakes, narrate me down from here,” says Tigger. That’s faith.
Sadly, sometimes goodbye is inevitable. “T-T-F-N. Ta-ta for now,” coins Tigger.
When Pooh thought about a future without his best friend, Christopher Robin, he said, “If there comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”
In the same optimistic vein, he said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
And finally, “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Silly old bear.
— Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.