Last night, New Year’s Eve, was a quiet one at our house. Our grad student had returned to his campus life on the 26th of December and both of our other boys had plans with friends. We were able to have a nice dinner with one of our sons and his friend before they took off for the evening. After settling down on the couch, my husband and I watched the relatively new movie, Christopher Robin. He had brought it home after a request that he get a “RedBox” movie for us to watch. He deemed it a “chick flick” picked for my enjoyment. I’m not sure watching a set of favorite childhood characters bumble their way around some magical woods to find their way into the city of London is a chick flick, but I appreciated the thought. He knew I would enjoy it and he was right. But, he enjoyed it too!
Within minutes, we were both laughing at the antics portrayed by the characters in the Hundred Acre Wood. They really represent all the different kinds of people you might meet on your life’s journey. Pooh was as loveable as ever. He was one of my very favorite characters in childhood to read about. I always thought his relationship with Christopher Robin was enviable. And, after the movie, I still do!
The relationships in this movie said a lot about who we pick as friends and how we need to maintain those friendships for the benefit all involved. Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear compliment each other so beautifully. They each give the other a sense of what the other should focus on and can be. You see it so easily in the movie as the characters continually remind themselves of what Christopher Robin would say or do in his absence from their lives. He became part of their consciousness – his rules, sayings, and way of being became part of their own “personality” make up during the time they spent playing in the magical, if sometimes foggy and scary woods, which I think nicely represent real life.
When we let someone in to our lives – really, really let someone in – they become part of who we are and we part of them, if the relationship extends in the same manner and quality to each participant. In other words, our friends help shape who we are. There is a relatively new saying (I think) that goes something like, “You are who you hang out with.” I think this is so wise and true. It is a reason to pick your friends carefully.
I’ve never been a person to have a lot of friends. But, the friends I have play an integral part of who I am. They make me a better person. I remember learning how to be a good friend in college from a girl who grew up with 7 siblings. Their family did not have a lot but she knew how to let every one of her friends (including me) know how much she cared about us, and the gifts she gave were always thoughtful, handmade, and given with love. I often think back to the lessons I learned from her. Sometimes, it’s the littlest gesture that means so much. Even though we haven’t seen each other in years, she effected my life and who I am.
It was just the same for Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh. For years, Pooh was out of Christopher’s realm of being. (Yes, I know he was imaginary.) When Christopher’s adult life spins out of control, he is forced to remember the things that really matter. And, an important lesson here is that this includes being able to engage in imaginary play. Yes, play as an adult! It is a very important reminder for myself, for I am stubbornly driven and can occasionally lose sight of the important things in life. The movie also emphasizes how important play is for our children. It was not lost on me that until Christopher’s daughter engages in imaginary play, she does not have contact with Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger.
If you haven’t seen this movie, and grew up with the stories of Winnie the Pooh, I would highly recommend you watch it. It will remind you of your childhood, and how important experiences, imagination, and play shape who we are and who we can become if we only allow ourselves the freedom.
As we enter the new year, I hope this post inspires you to reflect on your relationships and how we all need some life long friends who remind us who we are like Pooh Bear does for Christopher Robin!
Happy New Year to you and all our Silly Ol’ Bears!