Hakunaaaa Matataaaaaaaaaa, it means no worriesssss
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How can anyone read that most memorable of popular expressions without the accompanying tune from Disney’s The Lion King playfully jumping up into their mind’s ear?
What a wonderful phrase it is. A motto, really. A problem-free philosophy to live by, no rules, no responsibilities, just swinging from dangling tree limbs into warm water springs and slurping down shrubs found under soggy jungle floor logs.
At least that is how adoptive parents Pumbaa the warthog and Timon the meerkat would have it for the politically exiled orphan and rightful heir to the throne of the African Pride Lands, Simba.
But is there perhaps a deeper meaning to the lyrics of the tune which were written by English lyricist Tim Rice and composed by the legendary Eric Clapton?
What Hakuna Matata means for raising children.
Of course, as an adult to live without worries would mean to live without responsibilities, and it is our responsibilities to others and to society that binds us to the world around us and sees us finally achieve that ever elusive sense of fulfillment.
But studies indeed show that for children, the longer they are able to live worry-free, without significant stress or trauma, the stronger and more resilient they eventually become as adults.
And in the case of young Simba, an upbringing of relative Hakuna Matata after a traumatic start to life prepares him for the trials he’ll assuredly face when he squares off against his dastardly uncle Mufasa, who usurped away Simba’s father’s throne after basically assassinating him.
As Timon and Pumbaa sing “Hakuna Matata”, we see Simba grow from a maneless cub set down in a bed of leaves on his back like a baby to a regal-looking lion standing firmly on all four feet with his chest puffed and his gaze fixed upon the horizon.
And it is shortly after this scene when the wise elder baboon, Rafiki, finds Simba and summons him to face his life’s great trials and to ascend to the throne he is entitled to by the laws of nature and the animal kingdom.
So what is the deeper meaning of the song “Hakuna Matata”? Sure it roughly translates to “no worries” or “take it easy” in the East African language Swahili, but perhaps it also leaves parents a clue on how to raise their young children to become strong adults.
Children need responsibilities and challenges sure, but to best face the trials and tribulations of eventual adulthood, the life of a child should be one of Hakuna Matata to the best extent possible.
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