Parenting Perspective: Them Bones

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image wpvi"><span>WPVI</span></div><span class="caption-text"> </span></div>
November 16, 2009 10:48:14 AM PST
Sitting in my family room, enjoying some TV on a weekend afternoon, and I hear commotion coming from the backyard.

The slider opens. It is quite apparent that my children are excited about something.

"Dad, we have bones!"

At first, the statement was absurd enough to confuse me.

"You have what?"

"We have deer bones!"

Both my son and daughter like to play in the woods with their friends. On this day, they happened to spot pieces of a carcass. Luckily, it had been licked clean by some other animal. Still, my first reaction was one of slight disgust.

Aren't carcasses a bit dirty?

"Uh, yeah, that's great."

Suddenly, I felt like I was dealing with a crazy person who was holding a ticking time bomb. Must talk slowly to prevent anything bad from happening.

"Alright."

Pause.

"Put the bones down."

Pause.

"Slowly."

They put the bones down.

"Now come inside, don't touch anything."

Pause.

"And WASH YOUR HANDS!"

I took some pictures of the bones - to tell you the truth, I'm not totally positive they came from a deer, but they certainly look that way. One of them is a skull. Another appears to be a femur. The third artifact seems to come from the vertebrae. We have pictures of them in our slideshow, check them out.

The bones remain on our deck to this day and the kids seem to enjoy nature. That is good.

One day I was cutting the lawn, and found an old bird's nest that fell out of a tree. It was pretty small. I don't know what type of bird used it. But I saved it and showed it to my children, and they enjoyed it. And the nest remains next to my tool box in the garage to this day.

One day I was wandering in my backyard, and found a praying mantis climbing a back window. I also included a picture of this creature in the slideshow. Very carefully, I took this insect to the garage, let it walk around, and when my kids returned home, I showed it to them - and even let them touch it - carefully.

Funny how urban/rural legends persist. Immediately my son claimed you can get in big trouble for harming a praying mantis. This is not true. Despite its obvious beauty, the praying mantis has never been protected by any law in the United States.

Anyway, the point here is that whenever I find something neat, particularly if it relates to living creatures and nature, I try and share it with my kids. And I try to learn more about what I've found to pique their curiosity. And I hope each experience teaches them a little bit more about having respect for living things.

Because that is good.

And that is all.


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