"Tell me a story," said Jenna to her granddad. As they walked through the bush near where they lived in South Africa. "What kind of story"? he asked. Jenna replied, "One to help me always make good choices and be kind to everyone." "Sometimes I am selfish or greedy and I hurt people". "I don't always know I am doing it." They sat on a broken tree pushed down by an elephant.
"This is a story about two special lions," said the grandfather. "They are boy lions not girl ones." "This may seem a bit odd telling a girl a story about boy lions. But you will understand the reason at the end of the story."
"When we are growing up it sometimes feels like there are two parts of us. These two parts live inside us struggling against each other to take control. Just like males lions fight each other to control a pride. Let's imagine these two parts of you are two big male lions and that you are the pride. The first lion is huge and very powerful. He has soft sandy coloured hair with a thick fluffy mane."
"Every time he looks at you he has kindness in his gentle eyes and a contented gentle smile on its mouth. This lion that hardly ever snarls and bares its teeth unless it is to protect you or those close to you or him. He is willing to stand back to let the cubs feed first and keep the other lions away while they eat in peace. We could call this the lion of peace, love, and kindness. He thinks that, if all lions help each other and live peacefully with each other they will be a lot happier."
"For this lion, kindness and love matter more than anything else. You see, he knows that without love, the world of lions and humans would not exist. This lion knows a father loves his baby; that he cares for it, feeds it, clothes it, shelters it, and protects it from all dangers. We humans are created out of an act of love and we grow through the love that parents and others show us. Lions and people long to be loved. And our lives are nurtured and enriched when we give love and are loved back."
"The huge lion knows that gentleness and kindness is part of love. He understands that when we are kind to other lions or people, they are likely to be kind back to us. Smile at someone and they will probably smile back. This huge lion tells his cubs to be helpful to everyone and to respect them. So that the person you help is more likely to help you in return. You see lions are a bit like humans and prefer to live in prides or groups. They mix with each other and work together. They trust each other and feel better when they are mixing in a warm and friendly way."
Jenna was listening but also remembering how she had seen prides of lions. They were playing and paying each other attention. She realised that in many ways families of people or groups of friends are the same as the lions.
Granddad gave her time to think and then said. "Now let’s imagine that there is another lion in the pride who doesn’t think the same way. He lives inside you too."
"This lion has a really mean and cruel face. He is a bully and bares his teeth a lot. He threatens other lions in the pride and any other animals around. They usually feel fear rather than love, kindness and respect. This is the lion of fear, unkindness, and hate."
"So why is it that way? Is it frightened or afraid so he is always on guard. He hasn’t learned that by being aggressive to others builds a lot of bad feelings in his self. And among the other lions. He only thinks about who or what he hates instead of who or what he loves. This lion is out for number one and number one alone. But the lion of peace, love, and kindness thinks about others. Their happiness and well-being as well as his own."
"I asked you to imagine these two lions inside you. But first let's imagine they are in a pride of lions. They may struggle to see which one gets its way and becomes the dominant lion. The lion of peace, love, and kindness wants to share those values with all lions and people. The lion of fear, greed, and hate cares only about itself. He feels bad inside his self and makes others around it feeling the same."
"Let us imagine that two such lions are in a struggling inside you."
Jenna looked up at her granddad. She frowned with puzzlement and said "Which one will win?". Granddad looked down at her. And she noticed his hair was soft, bushy and sandy coloured. He had kind , gentle eyes. His mouth was in a contented smile. There was a softness in his voice when answered.
"Whichever one you feed the most. Lions are always hungry." "The lion you choose will be your companion for life."
The lion who was not kind and gentle. he is shouting at another lion