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A Fierce and Loving Papa Bear – Lessons Learned from Jim Cummings’ Daughters

**By Raleigh Cummings and Livia Cummings**

Raleigh also remembers an old teddy bear that her dad gave her to keep her safe and sound all night long.

**June 20, 2019 – Los Angeles, CA.**  Daughters of legendary “Winnie The Pooh” actor Jim Cummings are speaking out about what it was really like to be raised by their famous dad.

**Raleigh:** My dad Jim Cummings is a constant source of comfort for us, and not surprising in the least. He is completely focused on protecting his daughters. That’s his number one priority. He’s always been a fierce and loving Papa Bear.

When I was little, I was a very scared child. I wasn’t timid or shy, I was outgoing, but I was scared of the dark and monsters under my bed. There were some nights that would be particularly bad. After my dad was done reading a bedtime story, I’d tell him that I was still scared. He’d get really serious and ask, “Do you want me to go get my teddy bear?” It was a threadbare old teddy bear, who my dad held in the highest regard. He told me that it was the kindest, wisest and most powerful protector. Dad would make a big production of going to get him. He’d carry him in the room gingerly, whispering in his ear and listening to his response. He’d have a full conversation with this little teddy bear, telling him that I was really scared tonight and that I need him to keep
me safe while I slept. Then he’d snuggle the teddy bear in the bed next to me, while reassuring me that he wasn’t going to let any monsters near me tonight. Looking back on this, I see how my dad taught me the power of imagination.

As storytellers, when we believe in what we are doing, others experience it too. The things we create in our imagination might not be real, but they are true. If dad had to travel without us when we were kids, he’d buy us presents from the Sky Mall magazine. The presents were always goofy infomercial-type toys that I absolutely loved. Once he bought me ping pong ball guns, which were kind of like Nerf guns but with ping pong balls for bullets. We ran around the house in mock battle. Dad did
the most dramatic dying scenes as he slowly melted to the floor. We’d rush over to him and giggle our heads off trying to pull him back up so we could keep playing. Another time he bought me two pairs of big plastic stilts. They were like the ones from the circus, not kid ones with hand supports.  We’d get strapped in and walk like the real stilt walkers. He helped me and my childhood best friend learn to walk on them, much to our mothers’ dismay.  We’d spend hours pretending that we were in the circus. Dad has always moved towards fun. Wherever there is the most opportunity for fun and games, that’s where dad is. He’d often
yell after us when dropping us off at friends’ houses or birthday
parties, “Have too much fun!”

My other favorite Dad-expression is, “Ask questions and question the answers.” Every morning before school he’d tell us to have a good day and to ask questions and question the answers. I took it to heart, often bugging my teachers a little too much, but I really believe I owe my good grades to that simple principle. He always encouraged us to speak up, be known and not be afraid of curiosity, playfulness and imagination.

My dad has taught me many things over the years, but his ability to see the magic in life and to bring joy to every encounter has shown me what true strength looks like.

**Livia:** “These are the good ol’ days,” has been one of the many sayings I’ve heard from my dad throughout my life. He would say it whether we were doing something out of the ordinary, or just spending a quiet evening together as a family. Even before my dad was filling households with so many of the beloved characters’ voices that he has done throughout the years, he was filling my childhood with magic and teaching me lessons that I still try to live by today.

I remember one Halloween Eve when he brought three magic pumpkin seeds home from work; they were extremely rare. We placed them on top of the piano before I went to sleep, and on Halloween morning when I came out of my room, three of the coolest pumpkins were staring back at me from the top of the piano. They had these hilarious, human-like faces, and my
4 year old mind was completely blown by the magic of it all.

Now when I hear my dad tell my three sisters and me, “These are the good ‘ol days,” which is still quite often, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the sweetness of this sentiment. My dad has always tried to fill our lives with happiness, whether it was a Magic Pumpkin Seed Moment, or just sitting together by a crackling fire in the fireplace. He’s taught me not to let even the simplest moments pass without recognizing the magic and wonder in them. My dad has a heart of gold and adds so much
joy to all of his daughters’ lives, as well as countless others.

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