I recently posted a video of a mother otter teaching her young one to swim. We frequently see otters in Florida and they are excellent swimmers. I always thought it came naturally to them. Apparently they need swimming lessons. It has always been a thing to me that children learn everything from us as parents and adults – good or bad – and that moms and dads hold their children’s hearts in their hands.
When I lived in Ohio, I did not have exposure to poisonous snakes, alligators, black bears, panthers, or other dangerous critters I see in Florida. There are black bears as close as West Virginia, but that was not close to me. In Florida, I have been excited to see the bears. No one else seems to be excited. I discovered they like garbage.
Each evening, my dog, Rudy, and I have a little routine. We go to a nearby dollar store for my one sweet treat of the day – my diet allowing – some water, and sometimes other supplies. One visit, I took him around the building to potty. Suddenly, a huge black bear torpedoed into the nearby woods and a baby scrambled up a tree. I was excited and went into the store to announce what I saw. The clerk shrugged her shoulders in disinterest and said she was aware of the bears. She informed me the moms give a signal to the little ones to climb a tree when danger is near. I never considered little me and Rudy danger.
The next night my dog and I went to the store as usual. The clerk asked, “Did you see the bear again?” with a smile on her face. I know she was mocking me, but I told her how I was so amazed about it, that was why I made such a big deal about something so mundane to her. Sort of nice she remembered us.
The next night we went to the store, we looked for the bears. None in sight. At the check out, I talked about them with a new clerk. She told me there is a mom bear with two cubs. As we talked, she said they were a problem because they came to get into the garbage. Then she shared how one day, all three bears carried bags of garbage into the woods. The mom had a very large bag and the two cubs had smaller bags. That’s a funny story. We laughed and I could only image this adorable sight. I asked if she took a picture. She said ‘no’ but wished she had. Me too.
Nature has a way of showing us how mothers teach their children everything. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way they should go and even when they are older they will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22.6) Teaching children about the Loving, Living God is the most important thing we will teach them. It is an overwhelming responsibility at times, but we have their hearts in our hands already. Teach them well!
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