everything i needed to know

I must have been one of the most cynical elementary school kids ever born. I rejected almost all of the childrens media icon offerings. I wondered why I should love a constantly grinning mouse who sounded like he was on helium. I believed Donald Duck not only couldn’t speak properly but really ought to wear pants. I thought Mr. Magoo should retire to some old folks home and stop messing up other peoples’ lives. I had no use for Popeye, who sang like a buzzard with a cold and might give my mother ideas about feeding me spinach. Shaggy needed a shave. And Goofy? Well, the name pretty much said it all. Road Runner was cool. Probably because he wasted no words but simply outwitted everyone, tossed his little topknot, and sped away. But that was about it.

But the most embarrassing admission is that as a child I never would have celebrated Monday–the birthday of A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh. Yes, January 18 is official Pooh Day. I had no respect for a bear of little brain. Not to mention–Pooh? Really? That’s just asking for disdain. Besides, he doesn’t wear pants, either.

Since that misguided childhood, however, I’ve come to a profound appreciation of the stuffed with fluff fellow. Pooh, in fact, represents all that is good in life. Or at least, a lot of it. As Robert Fulghum learned all he needed to know in kindergarten, so I’ve learned much from Pooh.

–Watching the stars is a very worthwhile use of your time.

–Watching with a friend is even better.

–Something sweet in the cupboard always helps any situation.

–A good body image is important. If you’re “short, fat, and proud of that” don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

–Sometimes, those of little brain can solve the biggest problems.

–A sturdy umbrella can become a boat, and so in much of life, being resourceful and creative pays off.

–It’s nice to have friends who come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. You never know when you’ll need a practical Rabbit or a spontaneous Tigger. Value them all.

–Living life trusting in others’ goodness and being occasionally disappointed is better than living in suspicion and being occasionally surprised.

–Sometimes it’s best just to follow people we love into the woods and not ask what’s ahead. If we knew the future, we might not have the courage to go.

–Don’t disguise who you are. If you dress up as a little black raincloud and think you’re fooling anyone, you’re going to get stung.

–Being in too much of a hurry can make you miss the real goal.

–Usually, smaller words communicate better than big ones.


–Work at relationships so you are able to say, “If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”

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