Time passes slowly when you are sitting in the hospital with a loved one, but it does give you time to think about a lot of things. One of the things I’ve been mulling over is how parental attitudes toward non-human creatures affects the attitudes of their children. As a child I often observed my mom’s fear and disgust towards spiders. Over the years my attitude towards them mirrored hers, and to this day I am fearful of them. This is strange, because I love nearly all animals. If parents want their children to enjoy other life forms they must be positive and not fearful. I have become less apprehensive about spiders as I’ve grown older, to the extent that I miss seeing the beautiful black and yellow garden spiders that used to be frequently seen in our road ditches. They apparently have fallen victim to pesticide usage which is rampant in our society.

We can encourage our children to not be fearful of any particular creature by showing respect, admiration, and interest in whatever creatures we might see. Of course there are some critters we must teach the kids to steer clear of to avoid bites or other injury, but maintaining an appreciative attitude towards most other creatures seems to be a good idea.