OK, I'll admit it. The Lion King is one of my all-time favorite movies. Even though I'm in my 50s, something about that animated Disney classic just warms my heart every time I watch it.
My favorite part of the movie is in the beginning where the family of lions gathers to celebrate the birth of baby Simba. King Mufasa and his wife proudly stand watch over their newborn prince. The identity and bonding among the beasts are obvious. Perhaps that is why a community of lions is called a pride.
As I've contemplated the realistic dynamics of love, security, rivalry, and jealousy portrayed in The Lion King, I've become convinced that a healthy definition of pride belongs as much in the human family as it does in a clan of overgrown cats. Family pride is an essential quality in surviving the jungle of life.
No, not all pride is bad. Perhaps you were raised in a family or church that convinced you that pride is a sin. And while it is true that an over-inflated view of yourself is an abomination to the Lord, it is just as wrong to underestimate your worth. That is true of individuals, families, and churches. The apostle Paul urges us to "… be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value …" (Romans 12:3, NLT). In terms of families, that kind of healthy pride can be a fortress of protection and foundation of love.
When Dr. James Dobson's children were young, he seized an unexpected opportunity to teach them about loyalty to one another. One day after school, a fight ensued between the two Dobson kids at home. Dr. Dobson called his kids into the living room. Pointing beyond the picture window in the living room, he told them the outside world is a mean place filled with bullies and people who do hurtful things. Turning to his children, he explained that their family needed to be a safe place where they knew they could count on being loved and accepted. And that meant getting along.
In addition to arbitrating a truce, Dobson was actually making a case for family pride. When siblings realize the treasure they have at home, they are more likely to make allowances for each other. The more pride family members have in the fact that they belong to something that is unlike any other, the more apt they are to willingly contribute.
When my wife, Wendy, and I began our journey through the jungle of parenting 21 years ago, we determined early on to celebrate our unique identity as a family unit. I found a large ornamental initial "A" that we hung on the wall in the den next to the fireplace. That single letter silently reminded our kids they were Asimakoupouloses. When we purchased a carry-top container for the top of our station wagon, I found some transferable letters and identified ourselves as "The A Team" along with the name of our town and state.