Is It ESSENTIAL That Children Have The Opportunity To Relate To Animals?

our children 

The Joy of Mothering

I developed the opinion  that children have a deep seated need to relate to animals while watching my own kids interact with our pets and farm animals.  Since I grew up in the city, with ballet lessons, books and a only one loving cat, I was as fascinated as my kids with the arrival of tiny balls of fluff called chicks, cute piglets and tiny kittens.We all gathered around  excitedly, not wanting to miss anything.

 Rachel was and still is my most fervent animal lover.   Before she could even walk, she  exhibited an obsession to find, crawl after, grab and squeeze any and all animals. It was a passionate love for animals, I would say. She could barely talk, so to communicate her desire to hold the hamster for example, her hands would frantically open and close and  she would utter soft little grunts  as she pleaded, with  big chocolate brown eyes, for the cage to be opened . When Rachel realized that she would finally get to hold the hamster, her hand would literally shake with excitement and anticipation.

Needless to say either I or one of the older siblings had to supervise Rachel because she would tend to squeeze Hammy till his eyes stated to bulge out. Then the cry would arise, "Rachel's squeezing Hammy again. Come quickly!"

Once she could walk, Rachel would haul the disgruntled cat around but Rachel was happy with her eyes  shining with joy. She was in heaven, so I couldn't bear to deny her access to her beloved pets. At least the rabbits in the hutch on the covered porch were more placid than Kitty and tougher than the hamster and she was content to simply stare at the goldfish. Although, she did tend to over feed them. I'd scoop out food from the top of the water to use for the next few feedings

The Canadian scientist, David Suzuki , believes that all children need to bond with animals and if they haven't the chance to connect with real animals then they will turn their attention to stuffed or cartoon animals to try and fulfil that inborn desire. He calls it a "grotesque" substitution. I think there is a lot of truth to Suzuki's idea. Animals are part of creation and to live as we were intended to live, we need to touch the earth, plants and animals as well as other people in order to grow into well adjusted adults.

I agree with Suzuki, do you?


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