Angela Mollard’s thoughts on Winnie the Pooh’s philosphy

On individuality

“THE things that make me different are the things that make me.”

How many times I’ve quoted this to my daughters as their lives become increasingly indexed to Instagram and its homogeneous images of perfection.

On change

“HOW lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

My eldest was devastated when she left primary school. In her school captain’s speech she forced back tears as she quoted the above. Of course, I blubbed something stupid.

On communication

“. . .WHEN you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

See why I love this bear? So smart, so self-deprecating, so playful with language. If more of us had the courage to share our “things” we might be less fraught about our worries and more flexible with our views.

On embracing others

“YOU can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

So many people are friends waiting to be made if only we’d be brave. And it’s so easy — just ask questions. And listen — properly listen — to the answers.

On small pleasures

“IT is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’ ”

Or breakfast. Or dinner. Or drinks.

On optimism

“ ‘SUPPOSING a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?’ ‘Supposing it didn’t,’ said Pooh after careful thought. Piglet was comforted by this.”

As a reformed catastrophiser I’ve read The Optimistic Child and tried to teach my kids to see the glass as half full. But this says it all.

On love

“PIGLET sidled up to Pooh from behind. ‘Pooh?’ he whispered. ‘Yes, Piglet?’ ‘Nothing,’ said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you.”

Love — we expect so much from it. How much might be solved simply by slipping your hand through someone else’s?

On anticipation

“ ‘WELL,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best . . .’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”

My youngest wants a trampoline for Christmas. She’s wanted a trampoline all year. We’ve measured the garden and looked online and she’s even put an old mattress on the lawn, pretending what it might be like to jump there. Ah — the joy of delayed gratification.

On imagination

“ ‘HELLO, Rabbit,’ he said, ‘is that you?’ ‘Let’s pretend it isn’t,’ said Rabbit, ‘and see what happens.”

Parenting requires so much good sense. How much simpler it might be if we gave in to silliness.

On what matters

“SOMETIMES,” said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

Whenever I’m conflicted in my priorities, I remember this. It’s why I called my book The Smallest Things. Winnie-the-Pooh will forever be my touchstone. Pooh is a very wise bear. Artwork: Bentley

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