Friday, February 12, 2010

He's an animal

My son would like to wish the Internet a happy Darwin Day. Also to let the world know he wants this book, and to talk his mother into purchasing it, like, yesterday. Also a new X-Box controller.

My son, as you may know by now, loves animals. Not just looking at them or touching them or who could win between a roadrunner and a snake (my money's on the roadrunner), but just ... them. The whole of them, the interconnected, beautiful messiness of it all.

He was trying to share this with his friend. The friend believes dragons existed, dinosaurs and humans coexisted, and Venus flytraps are sentient and eat larger mammals, so it should have come as little surprise to David that the tree of life was a foreign concept. Still, he thought his friend would think it was cool. We're share an ancestor with chimps and gorillas and, further back, elephants and mountain lions. If you go far enough back, we're connected to everything.

"I'm not related to animals," his friend retorted.

"You are an animal," my son shot back. The friend's father took issue with this, and much discussion and nice-making ensued. The dad just sided with the friend against my son and shot him down. I only found out about it later.

"Well, I thought it was cool," he told me on the way home. "I'm proud to be an animal."

And you know? We talked about that at length, and I was going to recount some of it here, but just, here:

Tell me you're not proud to be an animal.


Gpabill said... Best Blogger Tips

Ah, well. It won't be the last time he runs into this attitude. Glad he handled it so well. Those who think themselves better than "an animal" seem to get that attitude largely from their religion. (Or so it seems to me.) They forget that only one animal got kicked out of the Garden of Eden. The Garden still exists all around them. Too bad they can't see it.

Average Jane said... Best Blogger Tips

I've never understood why anyone could possibly think that humans aren't essentially the same as any other animal. It seems so obvious.

Kim Hosey said... Best Blogger Tips

Bill: You're right about the motivation, I think. They forget that only one animal got kicked out of the Garden of Eden. I am so going to steal that next time I encounter this line of thought. Actually, The Garden still exists all around them gets more to the heart of it. Yes. Exactly.

Jane: Thanks. It seems so to me too.

Jill said... Best Blogger Tips

Once I learned as a kiddo that humans are animals, too, I always felt the need to correct people who would say things like "I love animals" because what they really meant was "I love other animals." I don't think I ever did correct many people, though, because I was too darn shy.

Having gone to a university with a huge population of small town folk who knew nothing much more than what they learned in church, it was a bit of culture shock to me. One in particular was strong in voicing her opinion that creationism was right and she would never ever ever take a class that taught evolution or the like because she didn't believe it. What I really wanted to tell those folks was that they were just too scared that perhaps they were wrong or maybe their faith wasn't strong enough and they'd fall to the evil evolutionists. I was also accused of picking and choosing what I wanted to believe in. I chuckle. I would love to send your boy to a campus like that to talk to those people.

Also, I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday and there were a handful of books I wanted to buy and ship off to David. It's too bad I don't know his reading level and I don't have enough money for such frivolous acts! (Or is it frivolous when such books are technically educational?)

If you're ever in Chicagoland and need a David-sitter, I'll be free. Hahaha.

Kim Hosey said... Best Blogger Tips

Jill: You're sweet. He is a voracious reader indeed. Right now it's animal encyclopedias. He has six or so, I think. They're to the level where if I'm writing an actual article about nature, I'll steal his books and use them for reference.

(I wish I had the money to buy them indiscriminately too! Thank heavens for the quality used-book store we frequent.)

I've done been around the creationism block a time or ten, and have actually seen it from different viewpoints at various points in my life. I could definitely go on for a WHILE about that, so I'll resist.

I was also accused of picking and choosing what I wanted to believe in. Well, of course. That's what everyone does. We may have varying criteria for belief (I tend to favor reality), but we all do that, every day.

EdenSky said... Best Blogger Tips

Yes, I am proud to be an animal. I'm also proud of a kid who can appreciate the magic of reality.

Mary said... Best Blogger Tips

I love love love this. Your son is so delightfully in touch with nature and *reality.* I'm just sorry that the other kid's dad is so... silly.

Kim Hosey said... Best Blogger Tips

EdenSky: Exactly. Reality is really pretty amazing.

Mary: Thanks! He really is incredibly attuned to the natural world. The dad is usually pretty cool. He and I get along, as do the kids; he may not even recognize himself in the post if he came across it. He and his son just tend to have a, well, silly view on this in my opinion, and it's hard to resist automatically taking your kid's side. I was just annoyed because in the opposite situation I go out of my way to hear the other kid's viewpoint.

Maggie May said... Best Blogger Tips

Your boy is awesome.

Kim Hosey said... Best Blogger Tips

Maggie: I KNOW, right?

Of course, I'm a tad biased. :-) Thanks.

kirsten said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm super proud to be an animal, and to be one of the same species as David! I was interested in fossils from the earliest age and was excited to learn of the linkages between various species. It all just seemed so obvious to me, and I'm regularly astounded that others can't (or more likely, won't) see it.