When I was a child, one of my favorite memories was of Saturday mornings. We lived in Surrey, on 64th Ave, in a yellow and brown two-story house. I had a head of curly hair, loved to dress up, and loved my Saturday mornings. I’d get up at 6am because the cartoons were coming on and I could watch TV. All day I would sit on our couch (it was a forest scene pattern, don’t ask me what my mom was thinking) and I would get my pancake breakfast and lunch while sitting and watching my favorite shows. There was She-Ra-The Princess of Power. WOW, what a woman as she would fight Skeletor. She inspired me to know we could be as tough as any man. There was also the WWF Superstars (huge craze for that cartoon in Canada with the Hulk, Macho Man, Ultimate Warrior and my favorite Brett the Hitman Heart) Jem, and Scooby Doo to name a few. But my favorite – and I mean FAVORITE – was The Care Bears.
Developed in 1981 for greeting cards by Elena Kucharik, The Care Bears became a TV show in 1982 – when I was the ripe age of 6. Perfect age for an impressionable little girl. I loved my Care Bears because each one captured a different human emotion. They were symbols to express effective communication and emotions, while still being portrayed as a loveable bear. You see, everyone has goodness in them, it’s just each of us express it in different ways.
Their episodes would concentrate on positive themes like friendship, selflessness, and helpfulness. Every story was teaching us an important life lesson, while also teaching forgiveness and acceptance. Even when there was conflict with the “villain,” the Care Bears always showed kindness in their relationships. It helped shape who I am as an individual – always be kind when you can be.
The 10 original Care Bears consisted of Bedtime Bear, Birthday Bear (replaced by Share Bear in 2002), Cheer Bear, Friend Bear, Funshine Bear, Good Luck Bear, Grumpy Bear, Love-a-Lot Bear, Tenderheart Bear, and Wish Bear. If you can’t guess already, I often related to Cheer Bear 🙂 There are more than 60 Care Bears in total, each with a different look and personality. The TV show has had many reiterations over the years, but one thing has remained consistent, they teach us the value of each person’s personality being good and how we embrace that part of ourselves and each other.
I had almost forgotten about my wonderful bears until about 5 years ago. I was in the Target aisle shopping for costumes for Halloween and there they were, two Care Bear costumes with matching plush toys. I HAD to have them! That year, Sunster dressed up as Tenderheart and I was Cheer Bear. From that moment on, I started collecting and gifting. You see, our team is also part of my care bear community. I would gift a bear to someone that was special to me. As Tiffani recently said, “You know you’ve arrived when you get your bear.” Javid got Grumpy bear, because although sometimes he has a gruff exterior, inside he is a teddy bear at heart. Rita is Good Luck Bear, since the day she arrived, Build IT has grown and continues to make more impact. Rency is Make a Wish Bear, because If any of us ask for anything, and I mean almost anything, she delivers and makes our wishes come true. And my Sunster, he is Tenderheart, with one of the biggest hearts I know.
I gave these bears to people as a token of my appreciation for them. I didn’t realize how much it meant to them until this past Christmas, when Tiffani mentioned she had been waiting for hers, and was super excited to receive her Dream Bright bear. Tiffani exudes positivity and dreams big and bright, so this seemed very much “her.” It’s become a powerful symbol in my team, of valuing each other’s individuality, but more so what you give to others. That we are all Care Bears inside, with a unique trait, that makes us who we are. It drives a positive community spirit, promotes collaboration and support, and builds a strong culture of togetherness. All from a Care Bear. I’ve given out a few Care Bears over these past 5 years, and I hope all those that have received them know how important they are to me and what they symbolize. It’s a great tool to give a piece of yourself to your team, but to also show them how much you value and “see” the best of them. I have many on my shelves in my office, and people have asked me why I collect them, so I thought I would share. You see, you never know what personality I’m going to get on my team, and I want to be ready, because I value each and every one of them.
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