My name is Ted. My daughter’s name is Teddie. Ted and Teddie are a lot alike. In fact, my wife calls us “the Teds” because what is true about one of us is often true about both of us. We are both sensitive for others . . . good news. We are both too sensitive for ourselves . . . bad news. We both experience things at deep levels, including a movie called Christopher Robin.
We were 2 of only 4 people in the theatre. We shared a blanket because the Teds are always cold. So we put up the arm rest between us, snuggled up, and got teary often as we watched the story of Christopher Robin. If you don’t know Christopher Robin, he is a story book character who played with talking woodland creatures including Winnie the Pooh, a yellow bear of “not much brain but big heart.” The movie featured a grown up Christopher Robin who worked too much and was distant from his wife and daughter. At first I thought, here we go again, Dad works too much, has a revelation, turns over a new leaf and all is restored. Spoiler alert: This happens. But there were some unusual lessons that both affirmed and informed my parenting.
“Doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something.” – Pooh
I’m always trying to think of something to do with my kids. After all I work with Parent Cue, the land of intentionally and motivation to not miss any phase of your child growing up. But despite my immersion into Parent Cue world, I think I can miss the point. Perhaps instead of always thinking of something to do with my kids, I need to plan times to do nothing with my kids. I know this sounds like a contradiction, but I think it is anything but. Our lives are full of things to do, work, school, sports, church, what if there was nothing time . . . NO thing time. Time when we take the pressure off each other and just let things happen, things like naps, pancakes, frisbee, snuggling, turning off the power just to see what happens, never once saying, “Hurry up, we need to go.” It’s hard for me to describe nothing that leads to the very best something, but you probably don’t need me to. You know what nothing looks like for your family, we just all need to start to or continue making nothing happen.
Christopher Robin: “I haven’t thought about them in years.”
Pooh: “Well, we think about you every day.”
The second I heard those lines, it brought tears to my eyes because I immediately thought about my 95-year-old grandmother. For 10 years, she has been in a nursing home in my hometown which is two hours away from me. I don’t know many things for sure, but I know my grandmother prays for me every day. Like Pooh, my Mama Ruth has never out-grown me, forgotten me or gotten too busy for me. In fact, I thought about her the entire movie.
My grandmother has a very Pooh way about her. She is short, a little plump, and is the happiest person I know. She has always written simple poetry that speaks great truths. When we visit her, she says things like, “God wants us to love people.” “I’d rather be home than here, but here is the best place for me to be.” “I love you Teddy Pooh.” She has called me Teddy Pooh my whole life. I need to teach myself and my kids to think of the ones who think of us every day.
Christopher Robin: “I’m not the person I used to be.”
Pooh: “You saved us. You’re a hero.”
Christopher Robin: “I’m not a hero, Pooh. The fact is, I’m lost.”
Pooh: “But I found you.”
This hit me in a very profound way. I was lost but now I am found. Before I said yes to Jesus, I was so, so lost. Even now that I know Jesus, I can feel lost. But I’m not lost. God rescued me from me. This profound truth often evaporates in the heat of my schedule. I live as if it all depends on me. I’m a silly ole bear when I think I have too much control of things. Truth is, the breath is in my lungs is only there because God’s chooses to put it there. For some, my words, like Pooh’s may seem childish, but is there anything more profound than a lost person being found. I’m found. My kids are found, I need to remind them of that. I need to remind me of that.
Well done, Pooh Bear. You took me back to something simple, yet simply profound.
Who is the most unexpected character or person who has taught you about parenting?