As children, we didn’t suspect the funny predicaments of a tubby storybook bear were actually lessons about friendship and acceptance. Turns out that Winnie-the-Pooh’s wisdom is still relevant in our lives today.
“These are all observations about how a wise person responds to various challenging situations,” Gary Rosenkrantz, head of UNCG’s Philosophy Department, says of Pooh’s stories. “They embody nuggets of actual wisdom, truths about life. It’s done in a charming, fanciful way that’s accessible to children.”
We don’t forget these simple truths as adults. In fact, we still celebrate the beloved character annually Jan. 18 for National Winnie-the-Pooh Day, commemorating author A. A. Milne’s birthday. In honor of the day, take a look at some popular Pooh themes.
Pooh teaches how to be a good friend.
In Winnie-the-Pooh when Eeyore loses his tail, Pooh searches the Forest to find it. It doesn’t matter what plans Pooh has for the day, he sets them aside to help a friend. In his simple way of looking at the world, it’s not hard for Pooh to do what is right.
Pooh teaches patience.
Patience is a virtue. It’s not only the ability to wait, but also remaining calm while doing it. From The House at Pooh Corner:
“Pooh,” said Piglet reproachfully, “haven’t you been listening to what Rabbit was saying?”
“I listened, but I had a small piece of fluff in my ear. Could you say it again, please, Rabbit?”
They ask Pooh where to begin from and he admits—start from the beginning. And they don’t mind.
There’s always a silver lining.
Eeyore is gloomy. He’s quick to point out the uncomfortable parts of the characters’ adventures, but in the process, he often finds a bright side. In Pooh Corner, he laments that it’s still snowing and freezing, “however, we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”
Will students learn about Pooh in the philosophy program at UNCG? Maybe not, but “philosophy trains the mind to be able to think clearly, logically, and effectively about problems that are encountered in life and a variety of professional settings,” Dr. Rosenkrantz says. “Philosophy will benefit the student in every field they’re approaching. It gives you a way of looking at everything you may encounter in the world.” Think of Pooh’s lessons as an introduction.
Ready to learn more? See what’s possible in UNCG’s online bachelor’s degree in Philosophy.