World Changers & Winnie the Pooh

By Lois Shaw, Executive Director

My grandson Eliot is three years old and more adept at swiping my Kindle and trolling for books and games than I am. He’s a man of few words, but he loves to find that space beside me, under my arm and smack dab against my ribs, where we can “share” my Kindle. He still takes my breath away.




So we were snuggled up together, looking through the “recent purchases section” and came upon Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milneright next to How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein. I was supposed to be studying the Bornstein book, but A.A. Milne got selected—hands down. We also spent a little time with a talking cat, but that’s another story.

Anyway, the quote, “The social entrepreneur changes the performance capacity of society,” (Drucker) was still fresh in my mind. I was thinking that Bornstein is making the point that a certain few in our world have the ability to mobilize the many. I was wondering what the characteristics of those few were. We plunged into Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood and all the adventures, “In Which” Pooh, a bear of very small brain, seems to come through as the hero.

Now I know that Winnie the Pooh has addressed many of the challenges of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness over the years, since 1926 when it all began, but I had never thought of him as a social entrepreneur until Eliot and I discovered it together. The two books, juxtaposed, brought clarity.

I live here at Africa International University, which is a community of world changers and mobilizers. Students are here because they are following the principles of Jesus, who makes ordinary people extraordinary. Like Pooh, we can all be very ordinary, or even less than ordinary, especially in the context of Africa, but the surprise is that we are in a great narrative, told by a great God, and somehow, like a “little something” at the end of Pooh’s adventures, we are drawn into that BIG story and can actually change our world.

At least Eliot and I think so.



Lois & Eliot


P.S. Eliot and his parents, Jonathan and Kate Shaw, and his big brother Graham (5) recently stayed with us in Nairobi, en route to Eastern Congo to work at UCBC, a university committed to changing the world around them. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) tops many lists as the worst place in the world to live – yet is the country with arguably the richest reserves of natural resources.  Please pray for our kids and grandsons as they work with world changers in Eastern Congo.