Posted by: Mark Nielsen | September 14, 2010

Kangourous – The Art of Being Kanga

Frequent visitors here at MT already know a bit about my fascination with A.A. Milne‘s Winnie the Pooh. Not only for the stories themselves, but also for the archetypal role that the characters can play in our understanding of human development (from the toddler years through adulthood). More can be found on this little private theory of mine at several earlier MT posts, particularly the one on the “Milne-Nielsen Type Indicator” .

Today’s small note, though, is intended just to flesh out some of these ideas as they relate to Kanga, the iconic Mother/Concerned Adult in Milne’s furry-and-feathered family. As for the word in the title above, it’s a bit of a pun. I believe kangourous is the actual spelling of kangaroo in French… or at least according to my CD of Saint Saens‘ great collection of classical pieces for children, Carnival of the Animals.

Gotta love that two-piano attack…

But when I read the word itself, I see an adjective. As in, “Mary was so kangourous that her son Rooney was still made to wear a sweater, even when the temperature topped 72 degrees.”

See what I mean?

In all my explorations of spirituality and gender roles lately, I’ve given a fair amount of thought to the role of “mother energy” — not just in a family, but in any smallish group of mixed-gender people brought together for a common cause. In the absence of that mother energy, a task or process or group may be all structure (the male or Rabbity model) and minimal communication/cooperation. Meanwhile, in a situation with too many Kangas– or even one over-anxious or overbearing one — it’s all process-process-and-reprocess— making sure that no risks are taken, no feelings hurt, and so forth.

On the other hand, too many Rabbits and what you get is… Afghanistan.

So what we need, then, is a person  or a team who’s both Kangourous and Rabbity, with those two energies in balance. Then let all that productivity and safety and responsibility be even further balanced — by equal parts wonder (i.e. Poohness), humility (Pigletude), exuberant curiosity and childish innocence (Rooness), gentle leadership (i.e. Christopher Robinnity), realism and generosity (Eeyorescence), learning (Owlitude), and just a touch of insanity (Tiggeritis humanitus).

Now THAT’s somebody I’d like to meet and work with. And play with. And follow. And love.


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