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Blog #9: A Return to Childhood

I’m probably going to cry as I write this, but I am going to try not to.

I love Pooh.
I love Pooh more than anything from my childhood.
I loved playing with Pooh. I loved dancing with Pooh. I loved sleeping with Pooh.
I was always around Pooh growing up because of my mom and her love for Pooh.

Even the great Kenny Loggins sang about Pooh. I am sure that Pooh was a big part of many of your young lives as well. Each of us with different experiences, but many times the same adventures with Pooh, until of course we got old enough that Pooh wasn’t as important anymore (or should I say essential to our happiness). We grew up and knew that Pooh was always there, butt* in the past as well.

Yes, I am talking about Winnie the Pooh. That chubby, little cubby, all stuffed with fluff.

When I was growing up I like to believe that I was a pretty imaginative kid. I would make believe that I was fighting dragons or I was a famous athlete or we were hunting for wabbits. I had a kid’s mindset. Perhaps that’s why I have always been a fan of baseball because it’s the kids’ game. But the point I am trying to make is that when I was a kid I thought like a child, and when I grew up I had to start adulting like all people do, and it has beaten me down into something that I thought I would never become when I was a child.

Today, my mom and I took my oldest son Hayden, who is almost 4, to go see the new Christopher Robin movie. Hayden has seen movies before, so that was no big deal, but for me this movie was huge. And I don’t think I realized how huge it was until we are sitting in the seats watching this movie and I start to cry when *spoiler alert* Christopher Robin grows up and becomes bogged down with the work of the day. I won’t go into too much detail of the movie, but for me, the message was two-fold.

The first message was simple: slow down and enjoy the little things in life, the little nuances that you may have forgotten about. There is a scene in the movie where Pooh is staring out the window just naming all of the things that he sees passing by while on the train. Christopher Robin tells him to stop or do it quieter so he can’t hear. I feel like that as a parent sometimes and it eats at me. “Hey Dad, did you see that?” “Hey Dad, listen to this?” “dhkadjaoinomcmwiondadas” (That’s from Braden.) What am I really doing with my life that is so important that I have to blow out the little light that they have for me? Is is work? Cardinals? TV? Are any of these things as precious as my kids??… The Cardinals are a close second (I kid, of course). But let’s take the time to enjoy our families and the beautiful parts of them that we sometimes see as nuisances. Soon we may see them as long-lost memories if we are not careful.

And then the second theme of the movie is more personal. In the movie, Christopher Robin has a daughter. I won’t go into any more detail than that other than she is essential to the story. But in going to see this movie I was passing along something to my son, but I was also still in a child mindset myself. I laughed as Pooh said “Oh bother” or rambled on about honey. I groaned at all of Eeyore’s sullen quips. But I didn’t enjoy anything nearly as much as I loved just being there with my mother, the woman that raised me. She is the woman who tucked me in at night with picture books of Pooh and snuggled us with a blanket of the Hundred Acre Woods. But something was special about this shared memory of Winnie the Pooh and his gang. About three months ago, about a week before the death of her own mother, my mom told us that she was being diagnosed with throat cancer and that she was going in to get her tonsils removed and going to do 6 weeks of chemo and radiation.

My mother. The women who had comforted me through so many times and had been a mother to so many countless others besides her children, now needed to be taken care of herself, which she doesn’t like to let people do. But she went through it and is done for now, as we are waiting on results. I have seen her on her bad days and I have seen her try to keep a perky face. I have seen what cancer can do to a person that you love, and it is scary. It makes you want to hold onto things even tighter than before because you don’t know when they could be gone. But she is doing better and, Lord willing, she is done with it all.

But today I got to be a kid. I got to think like a kid. I got to feel like a kid. I got to love like a parent and a kid. And I got to celebrate another memory with my mom as she continues her legacy that she will pass down to her kids and grandkids. She is beautiful.

On that note, it made me think that I need to be a little more of a kid or at least try to think like one to better understand my kids and my students. I feel like I need to do more to empathize with them and figure out how they learn and how they enjoy life. I feel like we could all try and do much of the same because life is too short to not notice all of the nuances. It is too short not to enjoy every last memory. And life is too short to not try and create a positive legacy to pass down to your family and your students.

Enjoy setting up your classrooms, and I hope that you touch every student that comes into your classroom in a lasting way.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Tripp

*refers to the backside of your body where methane gas and pooh leave your body