What does happiness mean to you?
By WONG EE LING
Goodbye Christopher Robin is a heart-warming movie about parenting and the relationship between a father (A.A Milne) and his son (Christopher Robin, or Billy), whose cuddly toys inspired the birth of Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
Happiness in simplicity and reconciliation are the two themes that resonated with me after the movie.
Here are some thoughts I would like to share.
*** CAUTION: Spoiler alert! ***
‘Find something to be happy about, and stick to that.’
What happens when you are not happy about something? Do you dwell on it? Or do you go do something that will make you feel happy?
Milne was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after he fought in the war; with occasional flashbacks of war tormenting him whenever he dwelled on those thoughts.
Both Milne and Daphne (his wife) thought that having a baby would make them happy. Daphne was left disappointed when they had a baby boy instead of a baby girl because that would mean the boy would have to go for war when he grows up.
When Daphne left temporarily for London and the nanny went to care for her own aging mother, Milne had no choice but to spend time caring for Billy.
This surprisingly turned out to not only bring happiness to both the father and the son, it eventually brought happiness to the whole world.
Who would have thought that the time they spent in the woods would spark an adventure of the imagination in the woods and convince Milne to write the famous children’s character, Winnie-the-Pooh, which brought happiness into people’s lives?
It is interesting to note that it is as simple as seeing Billy playing with his toys that inspired Milne’s story-writing. Milne then became famous and wealthy because of his Winnie-the-Pooh story books.
However, there is a cost to pay behind the fame on young Billy.
While one may think that having a brass band on a birthday will be a dream come true, that wasn’t so for Billy. All he wanted was his father to play with him in the woods.
What determines “happiness”? Often times, we think that when we get what we want, we will be happy.
- If I get that dress, then I’ll be happy.
- If I get straight As, then I’ll be happy.
- If I get a boyfriend who is tall, dark and handsome, then I’ll be happy.
Once we get one ‘happiness’ thing fulfilled, we will look for another. And the list goes on and on.
What happens when we don’t get what we want? Can we truly find this elusive thing called ‘happiness’?
Sometimes we may think that buying more toys or gadgets for our children is what will make them happy. But what they are looking for is our intangible gifts of quality time and our presence with them.
‘A person should do the things the person loves, with the people a person loves. Because you never know what happens next.’
It was for the love of his son that Milne decided to give up that fame and stop writing about Winnie-the-Pooh.
Very often, parents think that what they plan for their children is always the best.
I am also imagining what is it like to be famous at Billy’s age? I’m sure my parents will be proud of me.
I will also make my parents proud as their friends will also be talking about me. All seems good and wonderful.
But it is not so for Billy – he was not happy being famous at all.
As a parent, what will you do? It was so touching to know that his father decided to stop writing because he had finally looked into the interest of his son.
Billy was bullied in his school and appeared bitter toward his father. In his bitterness, he got himself enlisted to the war.
Before he left for war, Milne had a talk with Billy, which did not turn out well. Billy left the conversation with an angry heart and got into the train.
It happens to many of us, doesn’t it? When we are mad, we just want to cut short the conversation and not look at the person for another second.
What if that was your last conversation with the person and you won’t have a chance to see him/her again? Will you still leave the conversation abruptly?
What would you have done for the person, or what would you have said to him/her?
Don’t live with regrets and the “what ifs”.
- If only we had made peace with each other…
- If only I could take back my words…
- If only I was a bit more patient…
With family members, we can’t help those times when we get into disagreements. They are the closest to us, yet we often hurt them the most (or vice versa).
Not that we intentionally do so, but they are the people whom we can be very transparent with that we become too careless with our words.
Will you take down your fences for the sake of love and forgiveness? Don’t wait till it’s too late to reconcile, make amends or say that you are sorry.
In the midst of ‘bad’, there’s still something ‘good’
There might be times we think our parents may have made some decisions that are unfavourable in our lives. Interestingly, in every “bad” situation, there’s always something good to be discovered.
When Billy returned safely from the war, he told his father that when he and his comrades were under fire, one of them started singing one of the songs by Pooh.
While they were singing, they were remembering the joys of family and hearth. Billy told his father that “you reminded them what was good in the world”.
What does happiness mean to you? Do you measure happiness in terms of your net worth or your social standing in the community?
In this movie, it depicts that happiness comes in the depth of relationships.
Happy is Billy when he plays with his father. Happy is he when his nanny spends time with him.
So, let us cherish the relationships we have with one another, and spend more time with our loved ones because we do not know what will happen next.
As for me, this movie has reminded me on the importance of family relationships. It’s a personal reminder to cherish my loved ones and spend more time with them. It reminded me that they are always the ones whom we can turn to whenever we have gone astray.
It brought me to action to patch things up with my loved ones and not waste precious time being angry with each other because life is so unpredictable, and nobody knows what will happen next.
I hope you too will be blessed by this movie and appreciate your family and loved ones even more!
Ee Ling oversees the Leaderonomics Clubs. She loves reflecting on life’s beauty among the ordinary things to gain new insights in life. She is also passionate about youths, believing that there’s potential in each one of them. Get in touch with her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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