Yesterday Caidin fished a frog out of the pool. He asked me if we could keep him. I don’t like bringing animals in from the outside as I feel they have their own life and we are taking them away from it. But I figured we could keep him overnight and then return him to our pond, rather than the pool (but similar area.) We named him ‘Trouble’ because of the chain reaction set off when we fished him out of our pool’s skimmer basket last night. Caidin found the frog when he and I went out for a little walk around 9pm. With a flashlight in hand Caidin dropped the flashlight into the pool when Trouble jumped and I then spent 15 minutes trying to fish the flashlight out of the pool.
Once we had Trouble in a container, Caidin added a rock and some water so that the frog could stay wet and so that he could also have a place to sit that was out of the water. Caidin then spent the rest of the night catching small moths to put in the container so the frog would have something to eat.
We have a dog, a cat, a parakeet and three hermit crabs and we are thinking about getting chickens and a few pygmy goats. I think sharing our lives with animals is really important, especially for children. Animals give children an opportunity to think about someone other than themselves. They give children the opportunity to love and share and parent in their own way. They give children someone to talk to and confide in. I often hear Caidin talking to Brew about his day or sharing stories.
Having room for animals in your life opens the heart and creates a stronger ability to give as well as to receive. Animals also help children understand that everyone has their own personality and experiences life in their own way.
Caidin is able to see his own life lessons reflected back to him in our dog Brew. Cassie our cat is really balanced, independent but at the same time loving and friendly to everyone. She is a great example of knowing who she is, and being comfortable with both giving and receiving. Our bird ChaCha Blue is curious, outgoing and funny. The crabs are really interesting in and of themselves with their after dark traveling, exploration and jockeying for the coveted blue shell.
Caidin is learning that all beings have personalities, have their own life lessons and have their own strengths and weaknesses. All are things that I talk to Caidin about with regard to people, but he gets to explore and observe these things through the lives of the animals.
One mistake that parents make is making a child solely responsible for animals. Animals are a shared responsibility; everyone in the family should have some role in caring for them, just as everyone in the family has a responsibility to care for each other.
Caidin and I work together often to take care of their needs. He fills the food dishes, I fill the water dishes. While I clean out Blue’s cage, Caidin fills the dishes and keeps an eye on Blue, to make sure Cassie isn’t eyeing him at the same time.
Animal friends bring a tremendous amount of love, amusement, joy and companionship to a family, but if it not possible, your connection with animals doesn’t need to be relegated to family pets. You can share the wonders of animals with your child by watching the squirrels, the birds, the fireflies – there is no shortage of amazing life experiences going on all around us in the animal kingdom. Help your child see the dedication and caring animals show each other, the way they work together, their unique personalities and their amazing ways of communicating.
You can also move beyond the physical and look to Native American traditions of animals as messengers. Ted Andrews wrote a great book called ‘Animal Messengers’ that details the messages of many animals from mammals to reptiles to birds to insects and shares what their presence in our lives might be telling us.
Animals whether in our family or in the wild are wonderful teachers and offer great life lessons for our children.
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© 2012 Christine Agro
Christine Agro is a spiritual teacher, clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine, invite her to speak or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.