“Do we kill a baby chick every time we eat an egg?”
Here I am with a long-ago-promised part two of Are Boys Naturally More Aggressive? coming soon, later tonight. I’ve always been terrible with schedules and follow-through. Sorry for the delay and the late posting!
The Easter long weekend has passed with all of it’s competition around who can find the most eggs, and in our case, my observing how ‘hunting’ for Easter Eggs in the lovely wilderness of Denman Island is a sad replacement for real ‘hunting games’ or searching for natural clues, identifying plants, or spotting bald eagles. It can really take away from a child’s innate experiences with being wild in nature….how the ‘mad drive to get as much sugar as possible can really get out of hand’. Children love hunter-gatherer games! It’s a wonderful thing for them to learn and participate in: the idea that the hunt with it’s chase and ‘conquering / slaughter’ of an animal was a team effort, not a competition. My son and his cousin found way too many eggs, and in the end really enjoyed sharing the ‘spoils of their labours’ with all their grand parents’ dinner guests. I’m sure that’s what it’s all really about, right?
Anyway, sadly, this year, I didn’t have the energy or time to organize or think up a better way to encourage my son to engage with traditions around this time of year that are meaningful to me – themes of death and rebirth…other than to reflect with him that the real ‘magic of Easter’ lay in the new fluffy chicks and baby bunnies he had the chance to observe and take care of. He collects the eggs in the morning and then helps his grandmother scramble them.
This weekend, after spending so much time cradling, cuddling, caring for and absolutely loving the little fluffy wonders that are sweet yellow chicks and long-eared bunnies, my son asked for the first time if eating eggs was the same as killing a chick. A big question indeed for a six-year-old! But a very important one in the forming of values around killing. For many children, especially boys who are growing up now with plenty of battle play – pretend killing, if not actually physical or imaginary, then surely mediated through toys and tv or virtual through video games, the real connection between life and death is rarely touched on. Why do we kill? How does it feel to kill an animal to eat? To lose a loved one to death?
I am grateful that my son has the chance to have these experiences, be close to nature and her cycles, and so expand his experiences of life and death, and hopefully learn slowly that ‘war-games’ are not cool, that mindlessly killing is never right….