In Disney history, The Jungle Book was released on this day in 1967 (Thank you, DizneyCoastToCoast.com). This is a tale of Mowgli, a man-cub who is raised in the jungle, nurtured by some animals and hated by the tiger, Shere Khan, who hates man. It is also a sweet tale of Mowgli’s relationship with Bagheera, who teaches and watches over him, and in that way it represents a wonderful tale of caregiving. Bagheera has it all: patience, ability to listen and reason, understanding of Mowgli as a man-cub within the jungle environment, willingness to let Mowgli test himself, reliability, intelligence, common sense and loyalty. Who could ask for more in a caregiver? Baloo is a great buddy, and they have a deep friendship and love, but Balloo also needs the guidance of Bagheera. I don’t know that I would run to Baloo for help in a crisis, though he might be great comic relief! But, Baloo is protective of Mowgli and he has a good message. As caregivers, you don’t often get to “forget about your worries and your strife” and life seems much more complicated than “the bare necessities.” And yet, it is so important to take the time to cherish and remember the simple and wonderful aspects of our relationships and life prior to caregiving. Try to focus on those things when the stress becomes severe and you start to forget who you were before you were in a caregiving relationship. I wish I had done that when I was Ben’s caregiver. I think it would have helped me to deal with the frustration that I have only just begun to understand in grief.
As for me, I think I was a combination of Bagheera and Baloo- a dedicated caregiver, acquiring skills on the job, with a sense of humor and incredible klutziness! How about you? What do you consider the important skills of caregiving? Are you more Bagheera or Baloo?