What I learned from wolves

The last 2 days we have had playdates. Both families have 6 children. One mother and I were chatting about the reactions she gets when she goes out in public. With our 4th baby now on the way I wasn’t really sure what to expect. She said, “oh you will get negative comments, but also positive.”

I shared with her about a recent nature documentary I had seen on PBS. It was the story of wolves in Yellowstone. Particularly two packs. Each pack had their own territory: until Pack 2 forcibly drove out Pack 1. Pack 1 moved to the far reaches of Yellowstone where food was harder to come by, however it ended up being a blessing for them. Pack 2 had problems in the new territory now forced to maintain control over twice the area.

To make matters worse their pups started dying do to an unknown virus. Of the 15 pups born that year only 3 survived. The 2nd year the problems continued. A third pack entered the picture. They killed one of Pack 2’s males and another disappeared. Then one day when Pack 2 was out hunting Pack 3 camped themselves outside of Pack 2’s den. Pack 2 made no effort to try to reclaim the den and all the pups in the den died. No pups at all the 2nd year. The documentary went on to say that without pups to unit the group they floundered and lost focus. They became weak.

Pack 1 was sheltered from the virus in their remote location. And while in exile 15 pups were born to just 2 females. The pack nurtured these pups, spending all their energy on them. The next year when the pups were grown they were a large and thriving pack and were able to take back their original territory from Pack 2 who was now fragmented and weak.

I read a great a quote in Parenting Your Child by the Spirit, By Sally Hohnberger, “Parenting is truly giving ourselves to our children, as completely as the wheat plant gives its life for the next generation. Parenting must consume our best time and energies.” I would go so far as to say without the next generation we like the wolf pack are a lost, fragmented and weak people.

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