I was passing a young boy and his parents on a trail yesterday when we spotted a deer and her fawn. The little boy was excited and tugged on his father’s hand, asking to play with the baby deer. We quietly chuckled, and then the father explained to his son why that wasn’t possible. The boy looked mystified, but accepted his father’s explanation.
I continued walking, still smiling about the young boy’s enthusiasm for adventure. Then I had a wondering. Why was the boy surprised at his father’s objections to playing with a deer? Didn't the boy know that a deer is a wild animal?
Then I understood. To the little boy, that fawn was a potential friend just like his classmates at preschool. He didn’t see that the deer was far different from himself, and therefore an unsuitable playmate.
In my experience, young children don’t see differences, such as race, color, heritage, or even species. Maybe that little boy was modeling a state of consciousness that we as adults have lost. The consciousness that recognizes that everyone and everything is related, and we’re more alike than different.
What if children never learned to see the differences that serve to separate us from each other?
What if we preserved their innate knowing about our commonalities and relatedness instead?
I suspect it could be a very different world…
(New photos on website Gallery: wandernature.com/new-photos)