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The Unloved Things
Image entitled, “Every Morning the World is Created,” by Luci Campbell, the creator of LupiArt
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” - Chief Seattle
I’ve been having several ongoing conversations about the need to teach our children to understand and appreciate the natural world. Instead of seeing the planet and living things that inhabit it as something we own and are free to modify, destroy, pollute, and deplete, we need to realize that every living thing has a purpose and serves to support and keep life in balance.
Human beings are neither better nor worse than any of those living things. Let me repeat that. Human beings are neither better nor worse than any of those living things. We are part of an intricate and interdependent web of life. It is vital that we understand that by destroying parts of that web we risk destroying ourselves.
This is one of the main concepts I’ve built into CritterKin and now Song Flight - my two children’s programs. It is also, oddly enough, why I didn’t kill a cockroach that ran across my bare foot last night.
Don’t laugh. I’d just finished having one of these conversations about the importance of all life with someone online, and didn’t notice the roach that appeared from beneath a kitchen cabinet as I was making tea. Our encounter was brief. The roach - clearly panicked - ran across my bare toes and made a beeline for the space between the bottom of the stove and the floor. But instead of disgust, what I felt was wonder at how lightly - almost imperceptibly - its tiny feet brushed my toes. If I hadn’t known it was a roach I could have mistaken it for one of the feathers from my cat’s toy or a dust bunny missed by the vacuum.
I was, and am still a little touched by this encounter. Also reminded that even the creatures we consider nuisances and pests have a purpose - have life.
In keeping with this need to help our children understand the value of life and the role they’ll play in protecting and preserving it, I offer you this wonderful poem by Nicolette Sowder (see below) and Cat Steven’s classic, Where Do the Children Play?
May We Raise Children Who Love the Unloved Things
May we raise children
who love the unloved
worms & spiderlings.
Children who sense
the rose needs the thorn
& run into rainswept days
the same way they turn towards sun…
And when they’re grown &
someone has to speak for those
who have no voice
may they draw upon that
wilder bond, those days of
tending tender things
and be the ones. - Nicolette Sowder