I was destined to become a veterinarian. I was born with an innate love and curiosity for animals. I was obsessed with monkeys when I could barely speak and wanted to move to Africa to live with them. I wanted to bring every animal I saw on the streets home with me to care and love them. While most children wanted to go to playgrounds and the beaches on the weekends, I wanted to go to pet stores. Yep, I was destined to become a veterinarian. However, it was my parents that fostered my love, passion, and compassion for animals which would later turn into my career and life.
As most of us, our parents and the way we were raised serve as our biggest impact for who we will become and how we will raise our own children. For this, I am truly grateful for the amazing parents I have and the wonderful childhood I look back at with such fond memories. My sisters, brother, and I had a wonderful childhood. I have amazing memories of family, friends, holidays, vacations, love, and pets….lots and lots of pets. We were kind of known in the neighborhood to have a “zoo”. We always had a least a pair of dogs, a few cats, and whatever else I persuaded my parents to let me bring home. (iguanas, ferrets, hamsters, and even a squirrel) to name a few. It is these memories of caring and loving all our “zoo” of animals that taught me some of my valuable lessons in life that I hope to pass along to my babies.
So what does teaching your children to love and respect animals teach them:
Sympathy– The core of kindness and love is being sympathetic and feeling what others may be going through. It is the foundation for kindness.
Kindness– Teaching your children to go through this world and be kind to all life is invaluable.
Love– Loving animals is loving everything. By teaching your children this lesson, you are teaching them to not just love animals but all people and life.
Nurture-What greater lesson is life than to teach your children the benefits of nurture? Nurture makes others feel great but also yourself.
Respect- If your child learns to respect ALL animals, they will carry that onto every aspect of their lives.
Responsibility– I love this lesson. The ultimate lesson in responsibility is taking care of something that needs your help and watching them thrive. Nothing is more rewarding.
Just look at those words listed above. For me, if my children learn to embody these things, I have done an amazing job as a parent and can be proud. My parents fostered my love for animals and allowed me to have many pets growing up. However, pets in the home is not the only way to teach children all the amazing lessons from respecting and loving animals. Books, zoos, TV, speaking with your children, shadowing your local veterinarian at work, and visiting animals are all ways to instill these core values to your children. And you never know……your baby just may grow up and become a veterinarian:)