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Father of Lions


A true-to-life narrative of one man's remarkable quest to save the Mosul Zoo.
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Discuss Father of Lions by Louise Callaghan:
Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

Created: 01/13/20

Replies: 22

Posted Jan. 13, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2332

Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

At one point, Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals."
Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?


Posted Feb. 01, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 245

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

This did make me squirm a little. I’m not sure I could say this to my children. But I understand his compassion and his children eagerly go along with what he says. I would have found it very difficult to be his wife, none the less


Posted Feb. 01, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PinkLady

Join Date: 01/22/18

Posts: 91

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to

I struggled with this but given who their father is, I think the children understood.


Posted Feb. 01, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 244

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

Again, I cannot relate to a father who would deprive his children of what little food they had on hand to give it to the animals. It is amazing to me that someone didn't kill the animals for food instead of taking food from children for them. His wife certainly didn't think he was taking his parental responsibilities seriously.


Posted Feb. 01, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rco

Join Date: 11/04/18

Posts: 19

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

As much as I love animals I could not put them ahead of my children's well being. Because the animals are caged and cannot fend for them selves I can understand Abu Laith's position.


Posted Feb. 01, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 265

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

Family is important and certainly your children should come first. But it would be horrible to have those animals right next door and watch then die of starvation.


Posted Feb. 02, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
TerryPark

Join Date: 09/03/19

Posts: 21

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

I was surprised that he and his wife would allow their children to give up the food they needed for the animals. I was also surprised that the children would choose to feed the animals before they fed themselves. I don't think I could have allowed that same decision for myself, and never for my children. I agree that telling children they'll have to go hungry is taking things too far.


Posted Feb. 02, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Janet Smith

Join Date: 07/28/14

Posts: 26

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

I had a little issue with this also. Much as I love animals, food for my family would be my higher priority.


Posted Feb. 02, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 285

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

katherinep, in her response above, answers this question truthfully and completely for me.


Posted Feb. 02, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
TaraM

Join Date: 07/17/19

Posts: 54

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

It seems like most responses to this question agree that it's taking things too far. Asking children to go hungry for the sake of animals brings up a whole bunch of emotions and is certainly controversial.

I think it depends on the family's values. If it's just a one time thing, then perhaps it's acceptable. Then again, even though the children may be willing to give up their food in order to please their dad, they don't yet have the knowledge to realize how that will effect their overall health and nutrition.


Posted Feb. 03, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 301

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

There's sharing, and then there's sacrificing so much food for the animals that one endangers oneself and one's family. I think the key here is where you place the line in the speciific situation in which you find yourself. Spreading the available food around could be a good thing; risking your your child's life to feed a lion seems a bridge too far.


Posted Feb. 03, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christineb

Join Date: 10/13/11

Posts: 77

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

I think it is hard for me to relate because I have never known any kind of hunger for basic food. Given the standards and the times Abu Laith's family was living in, perhaps going a little hungrier did not bother the children. It is hard for me to say if it went too far. They children seemed to thrive in their own ways in that horrible environment. I think if the children were truly starving, Abu would have fed them first.


Posted Feb. 04, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorinned

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 128

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

I think the social norm in an agrarian society would be to share whatever food you have with your family and the animals in your care. All living things require nourishment to survive.


Posted Feb. 05, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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bookfabulous

Join Date: 08/01/19

Posts: 15

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

I think that the thing to consider in Abu Laith's case is that he viewed the animals as his chidren (literally) and so it was easy for him to ask his human children to share what little they had with the animals. In reality, the children ultimately fed the animals scraps and rotted food they collected from the community. Abu Laith's actions and words were lessons for the children in the importance of compassion and empathy and preserving one's humanity even when those around you are losing theirs and there was nothing in the text that would prove that he would ever put the welfare of his children in jeopardy when he actually loved every single one of them. By involving the children in the care of the animals, and giving them the responsibility of collecting the food, however meagre, and feeding the animals, he created a sense of purpose for the children who had little else to do with school closed during the 2.5 years of war as well as something to love in the midst of everything they were learning to hate all around them.


Posted Feb. 05, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lindal

Join Date: 01/07/16

Posts: 3

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

I totally agree with "bookfabulous." Abu Laith is an example of someone rising above the frightening occupation of his city. He gave his children hope and set the example of having higher aspirations no matter how desperate the conditions. He was a ray of light for his family and his neighbors and showed much bravery.


Posted Feb. 05, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynne z

Join Date: 01/06/18

Posts: 15

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

Abu Laith took things too far. I realize people view animals as their children, but he was obsessed. I believe he loved his children, but definitely put them in jeopardy by his actions.


Posted Feb. 05, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christineb

Join Date: 10/13/11

Posts: 77

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

I totally agree with bookfabulous - nicely said.


Posted Feb. 05, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 90

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

One has to place himself or herself in the situation that Abu Laith and his family were in and view it in the context of not only the time and place they were in, but also their history as an individual, couple, family, neighborhood, tribe, city, country, and region. When I read this statement, I honestly didn’t even think about it. As an animal lover, Abu Laith was willing to sacrifice for the animals. He was raising his children to be animal lovers, despite their mother’s animosity. I also think that he portrayed the situation as a high adventure and gave them a common goal other than the family’s survival, which went a long way toward taking away the fear and the boredom of the war for the children.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kathleenb

Join Date: 09/14/12

Posts: 102

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

Bookfabulous, lindal, and BuffaloGirl said it all for me.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
johnw

Join Date: 03/11/12

Posts: 73

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

While many people growing up in an urban environment may not understand this concept it is fairly accepted in all agrarian communities or societies. People share whatever food or water they have with their animals.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kellyo

Join Date: 09/15/16

Posts: 53

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

I felt like the statement they would have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals" was a little embellished. They clearly did not have a lot of food during the war, but I do think his children ate. He may have meant they would not have as much to eat as they normally would have. The description in the book was that the children gathered rotting food and scraps from the community to feed the animals. Abu-Laith loved his animals and did see that he was responsibile for them. It would be awful to watch them starve. It may be different to kill an animal you did not know for food. It would be much more difficult to kill an animal you knew and loved. I do not believe that I would ever be hungry enough that I could kill my dog or cat and eat them. Some people may be able to to it. I would hope I would never be in a situation where I had to make that choice. For me there are some things worse than death.


Posted Feb. 12, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marymargaretf

Join Date: 09/05/11

Posts: 42

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

The answer that BookFabulous shared was great and actually changed my thinking on a previous question. H
Abu Laith provided his children with an example that transcended the practical. By channeling their energy in the direction of the animals, he provided a means that strengthened their hope and purpose.


Posted Feb. 19, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Junebug

Join Date: 01/25/20

Posts: 21

RE: Abu Laith tells the children they’ll have to "go hungry sometimes to feed the animals." Some might think telling children they’ll have to go hungry is taking things too far. Do you agree or disagree?

It would be terrible to watch the animals starve, but it would be worse to see your children go hungry. That being said, there really didn't seem to be instances where he literally took food away from his children and gave it to the animals.


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