Earlier this morning I left my house to go on a walk around the neighborhood. I noticed two couples on the sidewalk just ahead of me along with a child about three years old. The two husbands were busy chatting as were the two moms. As I approached, I noticed the little boy was stomping his feet repeatedly at something in the grass. Neither the moms nor the dads were paying ANY attention to this. CLEARLY the child was attempting to step on some LIVING thing.
When I got within five feet of the boy my eyes quickly searched the grass where he was stepping and there it was - a turtle hatchling no bigger than a silver dollar. Since the parents were still not paying any attention to this situation, I scooped up the baby turtle and showed it to the boy explaining what it was and that it wouldn't hurt him and he needed to be gentle with it. The parents at this point, who I do NOT know, still did not stop and at least see why this stranger - ME - was talking to their son.
I'm not sure if it is because I've been in childcare and education nearly my entire life, but I guess I just don't have a problem correcting another child's behavior, particularly if a living being is at risk of getting harmed. I've told kids not to throw rocks at ducks in the park, to stop chasing the squirrels, and to pet a dog gently - all while parents are sitting right there watching and not doing anything! And, while I know that this drives some people crazy, I really don't care. If you're not going to tell your child to stop harassing an animal, then I will!
Children need to learn to respect nature, and they need us to show them how. Just like you would teach a young child not to approach a strange dog, you also need to teach them kindness and compassion for all creatures. I don't care if YOU don't like snakes, do not pass that dislike on to your children. Please teach your children to have respect for all living things. Our Earth depends on it!
The best part of living where I do is the wildlife. However, with living in an area like this comes the responsibility to care for its native inhabitants. It is truly spectacular and while I don't have the space to show you too many photos, here are a few of the wonderful creatures we share our backyard with. As for my little turtle friend from this morning's walk, I safely transported him to the pond just a little bit down the road.