I am fortunate, both of our daughters have grown up with an appreciation of the critters that we share the Earth with. They are not fanatical tree huggers; but instead have grown to respect living creatures. Recently, each of them has done something that I do not know if I would have done, but each speaks to their character, values and ability to make choices.
Rebecca has long been a fan of all animals. For years, she has pretty much avoided posting on Facebook, which, as a parent, I am glad that she does not have a need to share every activity with the world. About a year ago, she started to share animal-friendly pictures and video clips. I am not talking about simple cute and cuddly furry animals, but animal survival, celebrating their freedoms, and respectful of them in their habitats. She has a good conscious when it comes to this. She recently become the vice president of the Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animal club at her school (Go Bec!) and decided to become a vegetarian based on the treatment of animals slaughtered for food. From my point of view, the meat has always appeared magically on the plate and I do not ask any questions. I applaud her thinking to come to her conclusions to do her part.
Gabrielle, on the other hand, while she likes all critters, generally will run the other way when it comes to insects, large wild animals and the tiniest of snakes. Last week, while driving to her student teaching position, she came across an animal in the street walking in odd circles. As she slowly pulled closer, she saw that it was a skunk with something on its head. She pulled over and waited for the cars behind to pass. As she sat and watched, she realized that the skunk was in a distressed state and in danger of being hit by a car. She took action – Gab got out of the car, walked up to the skunk, reached out, removed a yogurt cup (Go Gab!) from the skunks head, and quickly backed away. The skunk, in a state of confusion, ran under Gab’s car, then after a few minutes, composed itself and trotted off. I applaud her quick thinking to save a creature most of us would run from.
How were we able to raise such conscientious children? I think that this is what I can refer to as the Lucy Lou effect. We adopted Lucy Lou six years ago, when she was a scraggly, longhaired rescue dog. The girls understood that they were responsible for caring, feeding and walking her. There was love in the air, as Gab and Bec spent hours sitting, petting and tending to Lucy Lou, learning what it takes to care for and live with a four-legged friend. Caring, minding others and learning what it means to become responsible not only for themselves, but for another has transpired. Okay, I did not do this deep thinking and analysis beforehand, but am glad it happened, glad the Lucy Lou effect occurred and glad to see the positive impact (butterfly effect) on our children.