On this, the 74th anniversary of the birth of British author and playwright A.A. Milne, it seems fitting to remember some his contributions made to the lives of millions of children over the last 50 years. If you happen to one of the few who is not familiar with his work, Milne created the characters of Winne-the-Poo and Christopher Robin, based on his real life son and his teddy bear.
His other creations include Winnie-the-Poo’s best friend Piglet, Kanga and Baby Roo, the ever rambunctious Tigger, and the always sorrowful Eeyore, the donkey. Poo was ever willing to go one adventures with his friend Christopher Robin in the Hundred Acre Woods, but just so long as he was able to get back to his home in for his honey and his elevenses.
But the character who remained the darkest and most complex was Eeyore. Eeyore was always down, always complaining about something. In other words, Eyeore was a real buzzkill. But Eeyore taught an important lesson to the children who read and loved Milne’s books.
His friends did not try to “fix” Eeyore. They accepted him as he was, grumpiness and all. They included him in their activities. Nobody taunted or teased Eeyore. Eeyore was, well, just being Eeyore. They might encourage him to join in the festivities, but nobody forced him to do so.
We all probably have an Eeyore in our lives, at least at some time. The easiest way to deal with an Eeyore is to ignore him – in modern parlance “to avoid all the negative energy.” But Eeyore did not ask to be the way he was. Neither do our modern-day Eeyores.
Perhaps, like the creatures of Milne’s creation, all our Eeyores need is our acceptance of them for who they are, without judgement or criticism. Perhaps, at some time in our lives, we may become Eeyore ourselves. If you happen to be an Eeyore, then you know that you don’t want anyone to try to “fix” you either. You just want acceptance for who you are. Because that’s what friends do.
Thank you Mr. Milne for enriching our childhood and our lives. Your creatures live long beyond you. And in case you are wondering, the real Christopher Robin (that was his real name) went on to fight for Great Britain in World War II, despite the good natured ribbing he sometimes received. Because he loved Eeyore too.