I have a tiny one at home. A five-year old.
He talks incessantly, laughs monstrously, imagines creatively, and uses good adjectives like a pro.
A few days back, we were re-reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar,’ and he creatively thought of how funny it would be if the hungry caterpillar from the book wormed out and fell on the ground. In fact, he built up an entire story on this which you can read here, however, this post is intended to point out how important it is to inculcate kindness in a kid, especially towards our tiny harmless co-creatures.
If I were to keep in mind that a kid thought of a caterpillar making its way out of a book and falling on the ground, the next thought I would have is that he or she would squish the poor larva.
However, he didn’t do that. He didn’t end the story right there by squishing the larva. He built an entire story by taking care of the tiny creature and budding it into a butterfly right in his home.
I’ve seen more instances of his kindness towards pets and people alike. Sometimes it makes me feel that he could be a 10 year old boy, but one look at him is enough to know that he has learned to be kind irrespective of his age.
Speaking of kindness, we all teach our children to be kind. We instruct, and we preach the importance of kindness. We read out stories of kindness from books. However, it is our own actions which speak more than our teaching. If we as parents show kindness to animals, both tiny and big, they remember our actions and try to imitate them. If we teach them to appreciate the smallest bugs and not squish them, they learn to appreciate the beauties of nature.
Instead of hurting a caterpillar, if we point out how beautiful it looks, how pronounced are the dots on its body, how its legs carry it from the head to the end of the body, our kids will also look at it with kindness and beauty and not really stamp it.
While I’m not saying that kids imitate everything parents do, or that all their actions are a reflection of parents, or that kids don’t have any individuality, I’m only pointing out how important it is for us as parents to show kindness towards smaller creatures and set an example before the tiny tots.
*Note that we are also definitely teaching him how to remain safe from harmful creatures.*
*Also, this is not THE only way to inculcate kindness in our children, but it is definitely one good way to do it*
The very hungry caterpillar from Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ came out of the book and fell with a ‘plop’ on the ground.
Ryan, a curious five-year old, heard the ‘plop’ and looked down to find a scared green caterpillar on the floor. Wasn’t this the same caterpillar he was reading about a few minutes back?
Yes, it was! It was the same caterpillar which was very hungry. Ryan looked closer and picked it up very gently. It was a scared, scared ringlet.
‘Sshh, sshh, it’s ok, it’s ok. It’s just me. I won’t hurt you,’ Ryan said.
Looking up with big round eyes, the caterpillar lifted one of its legs and squeaked ‘Friends?’
‘Friends!’ the five year old replied, and gave a high five to the little larva which toppled off with the impact. Picking it up again and patting its back, Ryan invited it to play with him.
The caterpillar was Ryan’s pet now. It had a sleep-over in his room that night. Both of them slept together, Ryan sharing his pillow with the caterpillar. The wriggling larva slept on its back with all its legs up in the air. Ryan slept on his back, his hands and legs shooting up in the air in his sleep.
The next morning, Ryan and the caterpillar were heard playing car games in his room. The caterpillar would sit on his Hot Wheels cars, and he would swoosh them through the room. The larva would go ‘Weeeeeeeeee’ during the ride down the room. The day looked promising for both of them.
Both of them were hungry soon after their morning games. Ryan fed his new pet a pancake, a chicken sausage, and fresh watermelon juice. Soon, the pet was so full of food that it slept off. The kid took it to his bedroom where it slept for three full days.
The fourth day, Ryan screamed:
‘Mamaa, come to my room!’
‘Coming!’ was the reply.
When his mom entered his room, she saw a beautiful butterfly fluttering all over in the room! Ryan was ecstatic! It was the same caterpillar that had turned into this beautiful butterfly!
However, it was not an ordinary butterfly. It was one that performed a lot of antics. It sat on Ryan’s car on just one leg, on one wing, on its head and twisted itself in funny ways.
While the mom and the kid were watching the butterfly, it fell down with a light thud. It was trying to somersault and hurt its head. Ryan ran to get some ice and rubbed it on the insect’s head. It was fine in no time!
The butterfly wanted to stay with Ryan in his house. The boy, being a very nice host, decided to go out to the garden and get some fresh flowers. He planned that the flowers would be put face up in a bowl full of water so the butterfly could sit on them and drink nectar.
Ryan and the butterfly stayed together since then.
**The story was entirely conceived by the five-year old boy named Ryan. His mom is just the social media channel for the story.**
Writing & Blogging by Shailaja V
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