By Deborah Holmén, M.Ed., NBCT
When it comes to fatherhood, we can learn a lot from the animal kingdom. In particular, the lion has always been revered for its strength and protective nature. Like the lioness teaching her cubs through experience and practice, fathers can empower their children to navigate life’s challenges.
This article presents empowering tips for men (as well as the women who support them) on how to embrace fatherhood with the strength and fortitude of a lion. By drawing inspiration from the natural instincts of these majestic creatures, we can glean valuable lessons that can enhance our own parenting journeys. Let’s delve into the wisdom of the king of the jungle and discover new ways to excel in our roles as fathers.
In a world where fatherhood is under attack and misconceptions about masculinity run rampant, it is time for men to rise up and reclaim their roles as fathers. It is time for men to father like lions, imparting strength, protection, and wisdom upon their children.
Toxic masculinity and man-splaining have become buzzwords in recent times, tarnishing the very essence of what it means to be a man and a father. However, it is crucial to distinguish between true masculinity and the distorted versions that some individuals perpetuate.
True masculinity is not about domination or aggression; it is about responsibility, respect, and nurturing. Just as a lion takes care of his pride, men should strive to create a safe and secure environment for their children to grow and flourish.
Nature provides numerous examples of how mammals parent their young, and lions offer valuable insights. Lions are known for their strength and courage, but their nurturing and protective nature truly sets them apart. Like a lion, men should be fierce and tender in their approach to fatherhood.
One of the most notable lion characteristics is their ability to strike the perfect balance between guiding and letting their cubs learn through experience. A lion’s father teaches his cubs essential skills, such as hunting and defending themselves, while also allowing them the space to explore and make mistakes. Similarly, men should strive to guide their children while encouraging their independence and fostering resilience.
Just as a lion fiercely protects its offspring from external threats, men should shield their children from harm and foster a sense of safety and security. This does not mean sheltering them from every challenge, as adversity builds character and strength. However, it does mean standing up for them, supporting them, and being their rock in times of need.
Lions are known for their strong social bonds and cooperative parenting. Within a lion pride, the lionesses and the male lions play crucial roles in raising the cubs. Similarly, men should recognize the importance of teamwork and collaboration with their partners in co-parenting.
In an era where traditional gender roles are being redefined, it is crucial for men to actively participate in all aspects of child-rearing, from changing diapers to attending parent-teacher meetings. By doing so, men reinforce the notion that fatherhood is not limited to providing financial stability but encompasses emotional presence and involvement.
Moreover, just as lions groom their cubs and provide them with affectionate physical contact, men should not shy away from expressing love and tenderness towards their children. In a society that often emphasizes toughness and stoicism for men, it is essential to break these stereotypes. Fathers can create a nurturing environment where their children feel loved and accepted by openly showing affection and emotional support.
It is high time for men to reclaim their roles as fathers and father like the lions. Men should not be discouraged by the negative portrayals of masculinity but should instead embrace their innate qualities of strength, protection, and guidance.
By taking a leaf from the book of Nature and observing how lions parent their young, men can learn valuable lessons on creating well-balanced children. Let us be the lions and raise a generation of resilient, compassionate, and confident individuals who can take on the world with grace and power.
Deborah’s book, It Takes A Lot of Sh*t to Grow Beautiful Flowers: A Gardener’s Guide to Life coming soon to bookstores near you!