Five Parenting Tips I’ve learned from Animals

July 11th, 2011 Comments

I’ve spent a lot of time out doors, in the woods, on the side of mountains, and beside rivers, lakes, and streams.  In that time, I’ve seen a lot of wildlife.  I’ve picked up a few parenting tips from those creatures.


Here, I’d like to share some of those observations:

1. Children are a lot of work. My Wonderful Wife and I were out in the mountains of the Colorado Rockies and had stopped to take in the beauty of a clear mountain lake.  We heard this incredible racket nearby and went to investigate.  Up in the side of a tree, were three very young birds poking their heads out of a hole.  They squeaked, squawked, and cried out with powerful emotion.  Their two parental units flew non-stop with food for their offspring.  It was an amazing thing to watch.  These two adults could barely keep up with the demands of their newly hatched young.

Sometimes it feels like we don’t have the energy to go on.  We laughed as we watched those birds trying to keep up with your babies – but at the time, we only had one child.  Now, with two, and lives of our own, I sometimes wonder how we find the time.  My Wonderful Wife works full time at home, maintaining our full nest, and I work full time outside the home, to bring home the bacon.  It can be exhausting.

“Have courage, they are only young once, and soon you will miss these days.”

2. Mothers dote on their kids. Watching a mother cat with her kittens is a lesson in love.  She is licks them, smells them, and is constantly looking after them.  A mama dog is the same way.  And if you take one of her puppies away, she will watch you carefully – with cautious trust – waiting for you to bring her baby back.

Sometimes I get irritated when I see my Wonderful Wife doting on our kids.  Little snacks, combing their hair, wiping snot from their noses, and making sure they use hand gel – but the fact of the matter is, I love her all the more for her special care and attention!

3. Sometimes mommy needs a break. The kids seem to nurse incessantly, but when the nanny goat is tired, she’ll walk away from her nursing kid.  The same with deer, cows, horses, and almost any mammal you have seen.  There comes a point when mommy just needs to walk away – even when the kiddos are crying.

Here’s the deal though, the kids have to be safe while mommy takes a break.  This is where aunts, uncles, and the rest of the pack are important.  It really does take a village, a tribe, or a wide circle to help raise our young-uns.

4. Sometimes daddy needs a break. The wolf pups love to play.  They will bite anything, chew everything, and especially love to pester their dad.  He’ll show great tolerance, and may even try to sleep while they chew his ears.  But suddenly he will growl and snap at them, which often sends them running.  If that doesn’t get their attention, he’ll give them a nip.

My son has  been playing this “role” lately.  He grabs, pinches, and slaps.  He’s trying to get a reaction out of me.  He’s trying to see how far he can go.  He is testing his boundaries – and mine.  It’s fun, to a point.  And I hate to squash his enthusiasm, but sometimes, I just have to push him away.

“Being a Dad is the best job I’ve ever had…”

5. Children will grow up and live their own lives. There comes a point when the parents will kick their precious babies out of the nest.  The goal of parenting isn’t to be a parent – the goal is to reproduce yourself.  To successfully launch your offspring.

It’s going to be hard to see my kids leave the nest.  It will be a challenge.  However, everyone will be happy if we prepare them, and us, for that process.  In the meantime, I will hold them close.

Someone once said that your children begin pulling away from the moment they are born.  I see that already.

Being a Dad is the best job I’ve ever had.  Sometimes, I don’t feel up to the challenge, often I fail, and occasionally I’ll hit a home run.  But always, being with my kids is the best thing I’ve ever done!


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