Thinking over the animals that have been apart of my children’s lives I realized just how important each and every one has been to their development. Yes, our lives would be less hectic without the fur creatures. We would have more money to spend on other things. We would be able to leave on a whim without trying to find a pet sitter. However, what we would miss is worth it all. My children lost their grandfather in 2007 to cancer. Within a year of that we lost 2 hermit crabs and a hamster. Now, as we have buried more pets, they are beginning to realize that death is just a part of life. Yes, it’s sad for us left behind, but it’s still a necessary part of life. As we prayed for 2 little girls who lost their daddy this week, the kids were able to talk about what they felt like when their grandfather died. We talked about how it felt to lose Govy and how it felt to bury him. We were able to convey the importance of living life to the fullest today. To love those around you today. They were able to feel empathy for these girls, because death has been a part of their lives. I encourage you to get your children a pet. Charlotte Mason advocated children having a pet to love as a vital part of their education process. Pets can teach children about life concepts that are hard to understand: death, reproduction and birth. There is nothing like having a living, breathing animal and hands-on real life experiences to teach a child.
What if You can’t have Pets
If you cannot have a pet due to allergies, living situations, etc., then I recommend you at least keep animals as a vital part of their studies. Go to a zoo. Read books about animals. Go to a pet store and watch the little rodents and fish play. Let them learn about the animals that share this planet. You may also consider adopting a beta fish. (My daughter’s idea…she wants a beta fish.)
Saying Goodbye to a pet
How do you help your child to say goodbye? You allow them to say goodbye any way they need to. You don’t shelter them from the pure and raw emotions of death. You walk with them through it. Death is not something you shelter them from. For my children, we let them bury Govy (digging the hole and putting the dirt back), we held a funeral and we wrote letters which were placed in the grave with him. We have a “tomb” stone in our flower bed where they can go and talk to him as they need.
McGoveren ~ A Very Good Dog 2001-2011
Saying goodbye to our buddy. We let our children see our pain and cried along with them. Grammy, Auntie and Cousin were there to say goodbye also.
The Boy’s letter to Govy
Bella’s letter to Govy
Gabby’s letter to Govy
Govy’s home. We say hi to him on a regular basis.
Excerpt from the Website: Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond—and many are right in our own backyard. This book addresses the larger concern of children being disconnected from nature. Pets address just a small portion of this alarming trend with our children. How many hours do your children spend outside smelling flowers, running through the grass, turning over rocks, catching frogs, toads, snakes and other critters, climbing a tree, blowing a dandelion while making a wish or making a mud pie? When was the last time your children had the opportunity to just get dirty in the mud and you didn’t freak out? If we are going to change our environment, change our world, we must start with our children. The only way to do this is to teach them how they fit within the great circle of life on Planet Earth. It starts with a simple relationship between a child and a pet.