... bow down to that nomadic state of being as a mode of survival that shouldn't be neglected.
Back in high school, I remember sitting there in around the droves of lunch tables, surrounded by strangers yet again. Our family moved in search of prosperity or survival or whatever the need was at the time. It was my sixth school and second high school. Looking up, I saw the phrase that would become more a part of my life than I'd realize at the time: The strength of the wolf is the pack, The strength of the pack is the wolf.
Now, being your typical defiant teen, I shrugged off the phrase as something that held little more clout than the Big Mac jingle at the time. Now, as I am seeing my own kids grow and learn, I realize how much strength I derived from the pack of my peers, and how much more I contributed when I had others to hold me accountable.
Wolves themselves are hinged in debate as predators of livestock, wild game, and in some instances family pets. But their mentality and brute strength as a unit is without debate. It is this same strength and universal nature that drove The Scouts to emerge as one of the longstanding character building kid communities in the world today, across nations and cultures around the world. Their founder set up this group with Rudyard Kipling in mind, hoping to give the lost boys of the world a chance to survive among lions, tigers and bears of the jungle that they would undoubtedly face when coming of age.
Looking at the structure and integrity alone, it's easy to see how wolf packs and preparedness draw a similar parallel. By moving into adulthood and gathering people into your circle of trusted allies you can benefit from following this same structure method that has allowed wolves to walk alongside mankind for centuries as an equal worthy of being both feared and revered.
The Alpha is a decision maker. Second only to the Alpha's mate, he is responsible for guiding the pack along a path that will allow them to survive. This at times will mean migration, hibernation, or war for territory.
These are the head helpers of the Alpha - ready and willing to aid in the hunt, decision making, logical moves and structure. They also act as scouts, sentinels, and caretakers of the young. When the Alpha's time is up, one may step up to the challenge and take over the ruling duties.
These are made up of former Alphas, Deltas or mates and act as teachers to the young, advisors to those in power, and sources of medicine and healing for the entire group. Even though their youth has passed, their usefulness has not, and will not.
The Omega is as critical to the group as the Alpha. He is the unreliable, the foolhardy and the least respected. But his role is critical: to lift the groups spirits in a way that no hunt or howl could possibly do. The Omega instigates play, and makes light of dark times by filling a critical hole in the group: the spirit. When the Omega dies, the entire pack mourns.
Take a moment to read Rudyard Kiplings "The Law of the Jungle," a short poem at the beginning of his landmark work The Jungle Book, and if you should ever be faced with a world without rule of law as we know it to be today, consider how these rules can be used to maintain order in even the most extreme scenarios of chaos.
There are some times in life when you are the Alpha, and some times when you are the Omega. Sometimes you are part of the Delta team and other times you set the order of things. If you find yourself a lone wolf, a Mowgli detached from the group, consider who you are and where you truly belong. These cycles of order are inherent in communities of all sizes. But the benefits, both short and long term, are well worth it. Your child’s ability to adapt, rise to the occasion, blend in and serve when needed, and venture out on their own at times is at the heart of this principle of kid communities.
Explaining to kids that this is a natural state and that leadership ebbs and flows with the role you find yourself in is critical. Knowing when to step down and when to step up is the hard part.
The community and the individual are bound as a force that can only exist because of one another. Good and Evil. Up and down. Right and Wrong. Left and right. Wolf and Pack.