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I remember as a child being the “odd” ball in my family. My mom and sister LOVED horses, I was a reader. They went to horse shows on the weekends, talked horse stuff, and enjoyed each others love for the four-legged creatures. Again, I was a reader. My mom never intentionally left me out, we just didn’t share that passion.
Fast forward a few years and I now have a child who loves to read, and one who loves animals. I totally relate with my reader, my animal lover… not so much! However, I remember not having that shared passion with my mom, and I want to do my best to nurture her love for animals, despite the fact that most furry creatures make me cringe. I want to be passionate about HER, and with her comes her love for animals.
So, how am I raising an animal lover, when I dislike animals?
I Invest In Books
She enjoys reading any non fiction book out there, as long as it’s about animals. We have rows and rows of books about seals, sharks, dolphins, rabbits, you name it, we have it! When we go to the library she heads to the animal section, and I never push her to check out other books . I know her passion, and I am investing in it.
I Listen Even When I’m Not Interested
Kristen can ramble off animal facts like no one else. Most of the time, I could care less.. BUT, she cares, a LOT. So, I listen. If she comes to me now with her passions and I don’t listen, I know at some point she will quit coming to me. I do not want that to happen. Ever. I want her to know she can tell me whatever she wants, and that I will be there.
We Feed Her Desires
When we go on vacations, or family events, we know she will want to go see animals, or read about animals, or learn about animals. And, we feed that desire. We took a trip to the creation museum for her 4th birthday because she was fascinated with dinosaurs. When we go out-of-state we find a zoo or aquarium so she can see creatures she may not have otherwise seen. We have also chosen to use a Zoology Science Curriculum to help her learn more about God’s creatures.
We Believe in Her
Kristen has a strong desire to be a vet someday, and I truly believe she can reach that goal. However, she may never get there if we don’t believe in her. Would it be easier to brush her interests under a rug? Of course! My husband and I neither are huge animal fans. But, what would that do to her? It would kill that desire that she has, and we believe that God can use her and her passion for animals for His glory.
Raising an animal lover, when we do not love animals has not always been easy. Her passion for animals has led us to keeping strays a little longer than we would have liked, it has also led us to becoming 4-H parents. We have watched a dozen more documentaries then we ever planned on watching, but embracing this passion has also allowed us to relate to our daughter in ways that we may not have other wise been able to.
If you have a child who has a passion you may not understand, I encourage you to find a way to relate with that child. It may not be easy, but believe me, it will be worth it!
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