Last week, I focused on a “father” disciplining his son and I had some interesting off-the-blog discussions. The overall consensus was that the dude was over the top. However, another summation was that the kid probably won’t act up again
for at least another week because that’s how kids are after that. But an interesting question that a friend posed to me was “what type of role models are we giving our kids right now?” Interesting question that deserves a response…
For generations women have been the backbone of civilization. They bear the children and they rear the children. But it’s always been the daddy that delivered the stern yet effective discipline. For example, take the Lion King. Mufasa developed a relationship with Simba from birth. He played with him, he taught him how to hunt, and he gave him heart to hearts that stayed with Simba even after the exile. The iconic scene where Simba and Mufasa go out to Pride Rock and talk about the circle of life chokes me up every time. Mufasa was preparing Simba to be the man worthy of the pride’s respect. He didn’t know when or how he would go out
(fuck you Scar), but he wanted Simba to be ready when that day came.
Men today don’t champion that same role in their childrens’ lives. My dad taught me how to tie a tie. He taught me how to change a tire. He taught me how to dribble a ball. But he also showed me through his behavior how to be compassionate, loyal, trustworthy, and diligent. He taught me that the world didn’t owe me anything. Whatever I wanted, it was up to me to use my devices and accomplish the things I set my mind to. Kids don’t have that type of reinforcement for lack of their parents, particularly the father, knowing how to teach those lessons.
Of course, there’s exceptions to every rule. There are fathers out here that spend invaluable time with their kids. They teach their sons how to be men and teach their daughters what a man is supposed to look like. Yet that bond is sometimes hampered because the mother doesn’t allow it to remain consistent. Referring back to The Lion King, while we see Mufasa leading his son by example, we also see Sarabi just chillin. She doesn’t step on Mufasa’s toes. She’s not in his ear talking sh!t. She’s not nagging at him to “do this, do that.” The fact that she fell back and let the relationship between father and son breathe is a subtle lesson in parenting.
The 1 thing I observed in my own household is that yeah my parents may have had their problems like any couple. However they were a united front when it came to dealing with us. I never saw them argue. My mother never disagreed or undermined my father in front of us. Parents, even if they’re raising their kids in separate households, need to be on the same page of the same book.
So what can we learn from the great Mufasa?
Being overly aggressive and asserting your authority over your kids is not how you prepare them for the real world. You’re not supposed to be their friends. But you shouldn’t enforce your insecurities on them or build yourself up to be an enemy (as Scar did to Simba) either.
Do you feel like fathers don’t talk to their children enough? Are you more of a disciplinarian as Mufasa or do you think it’s appropriate to discipline your children a different way?