I have no idea if these videos mean as much to anyone else. But I can’t help but share them. Perhaps I’m bragging a little. And I think it’s due time I explain why.
I must have been about 5 months pregnant. I had just seen an episode of Mythbusters where Jamie said something I found very offensive. I decided that it shouldn’t be on future airings of the show; it needed to be edited out. (I know! Pregnancy hormones. OMG!) I wrote a big letter and sent it to everyone behind the show I could find. (Not easy!) I even posted it on their messageboard. Basically, the letter stated that kids watch their show and that many of those kids look up to them. Flippantly admitting that you once shot and killed cats as a boy is not something that should have been put into the program. It seemed pretty simple to me. I stated I was pregnant with a son and that it bugged me a great deal.
As one might imagine, that was a huge mistake. I got attacked by some of their readers. (Wow, was I ever attacked.) After they insulted my intelligence, some told me that this is what boys do and that I am going to have a rude awakening when I realize that ALL boys at some point act violently toward animals. Including my son. Someone went on to suggest that this is just a boy’s nature. Others suggested that I was overreacting, it was just a joke! I didn’t find it funny at all.
This information devastated me. I grew up with brothers, so I fired off emails asking them (almost accusitory), “DID YOU HURT ANIMALS? DID YOU, BROTHERS?”
Neither of my brothers have ever intentionally harmed or tortured an animal for some sick amusement or game. I began to feel a little better about raising a boy. I decided that I would do my very best to teach my son to be compassionate toward animals. I can’t change the rest of the world, but I can change my own.
These interactions may not mean much to others, but they warm my heart in ways you can’t imagine. I know he’s young, but the love he seems to have toward animals makes me feel very hopeful. (You should see him with the neighbor’s dog!)
Abuse is a learned behavior. Compassion can be taught. The majority of children aren’t innately hurtful toward animals. And I’m realizing this now in the light of motherhood.