According to the Defense of Wildlife website, elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight matriarchal family groups. The herd is led by the oldest, and often, largest female in the herd, called a matriarch.
A good friend of mine asked me to impart some words of wisdom and encouragement to her daughter, who turns 16 today. A teenager, on the verge of adulthood.
I (apparently) have a thing or two to teach and share with her daughter, my daughter, and girls everywhere. Um, today, I am the old, large female matriarch.
I look to my good friends, the elephants from childhood, to help share life lessons to girls everywhere. We can learn a lot from Elmer, Dumbo, Horton, and Babar:
- Be your unique self.
- It’s OK to be different.
- Discover your talents.
- Seek friendships.
- Believe in yourself.
- You can do it.
- Have compassion.
- Love is powerful.
- Keep learning.
- Teach others.
Elmer is a cheerful, patchwork elephant, with vivid and bold colors. He is different from the other elephants and tries to blend in by painting himself gray. The other elephants no longer recognize him, which makes Elmer feel sad. When it rains, the paint washes off and Elmer’s “true colors” are revealed. Elmer’s friends are happy to have Elmer back, as himself, with his colorful and fun personality. If you can’t be yourself, who else are you going to be?
Dumbo. He is a sweet elephant, ridiculed for his big ears and therefore lacking confidence. Through friendship, he learns to use his uniqueness in his favor. His ears become wings and he can fly. A feather was just the extra confidence he needed to realize that he can do it.
Horton, made famous by Dr. Seuss, is another kind and sweet elephant. Whether nurturing and helping hatch an egg or helping save a teensy tiny planet of creatures, who live on the head of a dandelion, Horton teaches us compassion and heart.
And, finally, Babar. Babar avoids being captured and escapes to the city. He befriends a kind old lady and becomes educated and cultured. When he returns to the forest, he is crowned King of the Elephants, has a family, and proceeds to teach the others and have many adventures. Babar teaches us to keep learning and sharing knowledge.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my mother gifted me 14K gold elephant earrings. I wore them in the delivery room, and will treasure them always. Until it’s time to gift them to my daughter, to continue to share elephant wisdom.