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*