Honourful dads – a gift to change the world

 I was invited to join a special tour of the Herberstein zoo. I was delighted just thinking of it. Imagine you could go through parts of this tremendous zoo while no other visitors are around and nice guides explain the world of animals to you.

We saw Simba, the retiring lion king, and Cesar, his successor. The leopards, pelicans, and all sorts of monkeys, some dangerous, some just too cute for words, a tiny little guenon – and many more, along with beautiful flowers and stunning trees. We climbed the hill to reach our destination, the puma’s rock. On our way we passed the rhea, some cute birds.

Animals @ Herberstein

Two of them, full of love, trotting along me like companions or bird guards. One, an all-white rhea, was a bit aggressive. My heart ached for the bird who obviously felt threatened, scared, and maybe a little unwell with himself. He hissed, opening his mouth wide. We tried not to stress him further, hence stepped further away from the fence and retraced our path. 

Except for one dad, who taught his boys how to instigate the bird even more. They attacked it with sticks, trying to stab its mouth. I turned round and asked him to stop. “You really should not tease this bird any more.” His reply? “Of course we should.” I said. “No, you should not. Stop it.” He stopped then – but the damage was done.

This man was rude and mean in so many ways – scaring a defenceless animal, teaching his kids how to do it and giving them the impression it were ok to do so! – and, that a man doesn’t listen to a woman. You don’t have emotions, feelings, compassion, not for a bird and not for anyone else. It’s not the first time I am shocked by how carelessly we teach our kids. 

Another time I saw a family feeding ducks in a protected landscape. The sign next to them said: PLEASE DON’T FEED THE DUCKS – IT MIGHT KILL THEM. I asked them to please stop it and the man attacked me: “Leave us alone, we are here to relax, just go off you annoying woman.” I nearly through him into the lake. Wish I had. 

He, too, taught his kids that it is right to act wrong and to then get defensive and aggressive.


Our children are the future, and we shape the future by being their guideposts. We want them to have all the resources they need: from drinkable water to blue skies, breathable air, to kindness, gentleness, standing up for others and generally lead a good life. It’s not about what we say but about what we do. How we act. 
So, from all my heart I beg you fathers and mothers out there to be the right example. 

I remember how I admired my father, how I soaked up whatever he said because he was so important to me. I remember how I needed, wanted, sought his guidance. I also know that guidance, even if you went through the worst up-bringing ever, can be full of knightliness and kindness, if you listen to your voice within.
A better world starts right now with all the tiny little things we do. Because by doing we show others a way of living – even more so if we have kids. Fathers, I know what honour resides in you, may it guide you and shine strong and kind. 

A really powerful person doesn‘t need to attack, he defends. When you are really powerful, you know when to stop and how to do the least damage. When you are powerful, you protect and serve those who are not. You speak up. You are present. And by simply exuding this aura of confidence and power most of the problems dissolve. 

I don’t know when it became ok to attack those that are weaker. When it became alright to keep attacking, although the opponent is already on the ground. When did we allow animals to be treated badly? When did we accept that muscle decides, not our brain, or heart, or intuition. The most respectable men are both: strong and gentle. They are so sure of themselves that they can laugh about themselves, they take life with a wink. 

You see the thing is, we destroy ourselves by doing that – the same way we accepted nature to be exploited and now have to face the consequences: climate change, more damages to our cars, houses, and harvests. It kills us. It also kills relationships, but that’s another story. And sadly, we destroy that which we love most: our children. 

We do have a chance to turn around. Every single one of us has the power and the tools to do so. Speak up for yourself, don’t let others treat you badly. Help others. Treat nature – animals and plants and stones and trees – with respect. Turn of the lights when you leave a room. Separate the waste. Walk. And be aware of what you have, cherish it. This will make you the best man and the best woman. For the future of our kids. 

Dr. Verena Radlingmayr, writer, author, and world enthusiast writes the Blog of the Guild of Light, a blog meant to inspire individuality in a new light, as well as books, stories, and poems. www.emc4success.com