“Hi! Hi!”, I hear my 16-month-old granddaughter say excitedly in our Florida room. Wondering who she was talking to, I look into the room to see her face to face with a young eastern gray squirrel that climbed on the window ledge to peer into our house.
The squirrel seemed as enchanted to see my little girl as she was to see the squirrel. The squirrel returned every morning peering in and my granddaughter was always delighted to interact with it.
It is these interactions along with harboring an interest in nature that nurtures respect for God’s creatures. By helping children appreciate nature and to recognize the importance of our natural world in our lives, we culture our future custodians and defenders for the natural environment.
I took the time to take little Fiona by the hand and go outside to check out the Sand Hill Cranes, birds taller than her walking in our yard, to see the monarch caterpillars munching milkweed leaves and to watch the anole lizards dart out of our way as we walked on the sidewalk. I am hoping that taking the time to foster these connections with nature that I will nurture life-long responsibility for all living things and our natural world.