We went to the zoo on our trip. At the zoo, there was a place where bats fly free. There is no net between the bats and the people.
We walked in and my kids were a little freaked. They are half redneck and they are pretty clear on bats. If one bites you, you can die.
So, the zoo keeper was preaching about how the bats are more afraid of us than we are of them.
I didn't say this, but I was thinking, "Um, they aren't afraid of us because people, like, feed them."
He continued to preach the wonderful-ness of bats, how much good they do, how many pests they eat. (I am glad that a mouse activist wasn't there or there might have been a smack down.)
Then, I just couldn't keep it in. I said, "You know, the thing about wild animals is, they are wild. We forget that at our own peril. Like the guy who got eaten by the bear, the guy who got eaten by the tiger, that guy who..."
Then, my husband gave me double major stink eye and my children actually started pulling and pushing me out of the enclosure. (One got on each side, it was effective.)
And, I was just getting started! "Rant about it," they said.
Then, we went to the giraffe part, I like giraffes. There was a video of a giraffe giving birth. One of my children was totally horrified, just as well. The other kept watching it over and over. I hope she becomes a doctor. The hooves were hanging out then, WHAM! The whole baby giraffe falls out in a waterfall of you-know-what from 6 feet in the air. Then, the mama giraffe kneed him in the head, cleaned him up and off he went.
Life is hard.
Should the mama giraffe have shielded her baby from that long, terrible fall? Well, no, that is how he got out. Should she have shielded him from all harm so that he never has to suffer? Well, no. How will he ever learn to take care of himself?
There are so many lessons and parallels here, I will just hit on the highlights.
Wild animals are wild. They are nothing like humans and when we forget that, we do so at our own peril.
Life is hard, the animal kingdom shows us that all the time. But, the lessons that our children learn shape them into the people that they become. No one learns from someone else's mistakes, they learn from their own mistakes. As painful as it is, we have to let them make those mistakes so that they can learn and grow.