With a three year old daughter at home, I have suddenly become very familiar with Winnie the Pooh and friends. Apparently, Pooh wasn't as popular back in the 80's when I was growing up, because I really don't remember much about him or Piglet or Tigger.
What I love about Winnie the Pooh and friends is that each character is so different...each possesses their own unique personality, mannerisms, etc. Lots of people relate so well to Winnie the Pooh and friends because they see themselves in one of the characters...or better yet, they see the characters in the people around them.
One of the keys of leading people in church ministry is being able to identify the strengths and weaknesses in those you lead so that you can create opportunities to serve that both allow people to thrive and challenge them to grow. And, I've discovered that the characters of The Hundred Acre Wood help me figure out how certain people operate, are motivated, etc.
Winnie the Pooh
Strengths - Pooh always has something kind to say, always is willing to help out a friend in need, and is always ready to cheer somebody up.
Weaknesses - Pooh is very forgetful, has a habit of getting caught up in the moment and ignoring what is happening around him, allows his tummy to control his thoughts and actions, and tends to be very messy (think honey).
Strengths - Piglet is very humble, willing to work behind the scenes without patting himself on the back, and is always willing to do his part, even when his part is very small.
Weaknesses - Piglet is very fearful of trying new things, second guesses and doubts himself constantly, and tends to rely on others for motivation.
Strengths - Tigger is extremely energetic, is always the first to try anything new, and is an incredible encourager.
Weaknesses - Tigger can be energetic to the point of destruction (think Rabbit's garden), can get so far ahead of people that he finds himself all alone, and often acts without really thinking things through.
Strengths - Rabbit is very intelligent, is very thorough and prefers to do things with excellence, and likes to organize the group when they are planning projects and adventures.
Weaknesses - Rabbit likes to over analyze things to the point of frustrating everyone else, can be very, very stubborn, and tends to become very upset with others when they mess things up.
Strengths - Eeyore is very dependable, very diligent about completing a task, and tends to be the wisest of all of the characters (even though nobody seems to notice).
Weaknesses - Eeyore is very slow and tends to hold others back, is always depressed, and the first thing out of his mouth is almost always negative or critical.
Strengths - Owl is something of a father figure to the other characters, tends to show up at just the right time, and is always available with a bit of advice.
Weaknesses - Owl really doesn't do a whole lot other than sit in his tree and give advice (often very bad advice), considers himself to be way more intelligent than he actually is, and tends to make a big deal out of nothing.
Strengths - Gopher is a very hard worker, always has a positive attitude, and tends to always have the resources needed for the task at hand.
Weaknesses - Gopher comes and goes as he pleases and is not always around when he is needed, and although he means well, his solutions to problems are often problems in and of themselves.
The great thing about this group of friends (I know I didn't name them all) is that, despite their collective shortcomings, they always seem to get the job done and have fun doing it. They work together as a team, often though not always led by Christopher Robbins, and at the end of the day, they are always ready for the next adventure.
The unfortunate thing about this group of friends is that, despite their many mistakes, they never seem to learn from them.
So, which character are you? Which characters make up the team of people you lead or serve with? Which character(s) are you missing from your team? How do you encourage these people to grow in their strengths and overcome their weaknesses?