In general, the urban kids of our days learn what they know about animals from books and videos, in a classroom setting. Which is good. But we could be leaving out the fundamentals when much of the spotlight is on biological facts and environmental issues only.
Such knowledge, when introduced too early without a meaningful bonding between the children and the nature, may instead become an overwhelming burden to the little ones. Suddenly, nature is about deforestation, about damages, about endangered animals, about stopping animals cruelty.
Children first need a love for the nature before they can shoulder these responsibilities. It’s true that children are naturally inclined towards the nature, but it’s also an instinct that needs nurturing. And in a setting where regular interaction with nature is not a granted thing, it falls on our shoulders as parents, teachers; the educators, to intentionally expose the children to the nature and nurture their love for it.
Responsible stewardship towards the nature starts with a genuine love for it. And love for the nature comes only through knowing it. As the Indonesians say, “Tak kenal maka tak sayang.” We cannot love what we do not know. And we cannot know what we do not see, or hear, or sense.
(Picture was taken at Cibalung Happy Land, Bogor, Indonesia, an agrotourism site offering a vast range of good old days farming experiences and other nature related activities, at very affordable rates. In this picture was “fun with rabbits” activity, priced at IDR20,000 with rabbit feeding available at IDR5,000.)