If you’ve ever spent more than an hour with me, you know that the Lion King is my all-time favorite movie. (Hey Disney, are you listening? I have some ideas about building on the Lion King brand. Call me! Please!) But I digress. I’m a fan of the Lion King not only because after watching it the first time I knew that I wanted to be a father but I’m a fanatic because it is a story chalk full of insight about the role of parents and the importance of children.
The other afternoon, I re-watched the Lion King. While watching I was reminded of something parents who are preparing to send their children off to a new environment such as a new school, camp or college would be wise to remember.
Sometimes there is too much Timon and Pumbaa and not enough Simba in a child’s life.
Timon and Pumbaa
In case, you’ve somehow never seen the Lion King, Timon and Pumbaa are the adorable meerkat and warthog who meet Simba after he runs away from home. Timon and Pumbaa find Simba laying exhausted with vultures hovering over his still body.
After chasing the vultures away, Timon and Pumbaa recognize Simba’s majestic standing and decide to friend him. After all, Timon and Pumbaa rightly recognized that having a lion on their side could come in handy.
Almost as quickly as Timon, Pumbaa and Simba become friends, an already geographically lost Simba also loses his identity. Giving little to no thought about his homeland and his upbringing, Simba behaves as if his life is void of a royal purpose
In no time, the carnivorous King of the jungle conducts himself contrary to his intended ancestral character. He dines on grub (slimy bugs, rodents, and parasites) and gleeful sings Hakuna Matata – a world where he has no worries.
For years, the lost Simba willfully and intentionally chooses to follow the ways of his newfound lower food chain friends.
Lost in the Jungle
When parents send their children to a new school, off to camp, or to college there is a chance that like Simba, a child will lose themselves embracing the ways of Timon and Pumbaa and forgetting the words and expectations of Mufasa. When we depart from our children’s presence the odds are extremely likely that there will be too much Timon and Pumbaa and not enough Mufasa in their lives.
In case the symbolism is not clear enough, Timon and Pumbaa represent behavior, a way of living that contradicts the expectations most parents have for their children. Timon and Pumbaa are the children, our children’s friends, who have been raised without being apprised of their destiny – children who do not yet know that life is best lived when it is done in the service of something greater than themselves.
Simba’s destiny was to be amongst the great kings of Pride Land – to continue the circle of life as taught to him by his father, Mufasa. Simba’s life purpose was not to walk around ingesting what those with no destiny consumed nor was it to abide by an unprincipled life philosophy like no worries.
Remember Who You Are!
Don’t let your children grow up to be Timon and Pumbaa, make sure they have a deep and abiding reverence for who they are as Mufasa provided Simba. Make sure your children know what is expected of them.
Please raise children who understand and embrace living with purpose and intentionality. Without question, more than any time in history, this Nation needs fewer Timon and Pumbaas and more Simbas.
A Thankless Job
I know that you have lots to do and that parenting is tough. I also know that as Mufasa’s life illustrates, parenting is often a thankless, painful, and occasionally a killer job. Nevertheless, we must parent like Mufasa and do so without any expectation of a reward.
Well, maybe there is one reward we can hold out hope for. Hopefully raising more Simbas and fewer Timons and Pumbaas will decrease the probability that our children and grandchildren will be forced to live in a barren wasteland, a land overseen by greedy and uncompassionate belligerent hyenas, and a land ruled by a narcissistic, paranoid delusional, disheveled, immature, frequent temper tantrum having, mentally and physically feeble king.
*Fictitious Disclaimer: The events depicted in the Lion King and this post are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.
Are you raising children to be Timon and Pumbaa or Simba? Who are your children’s closest friends Timon and Pumba or Simba?
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