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Important Lessons Our Kids Aren’t Taught at School

Teaching My Kids Lesson of morality and values

Compassion and generosity

perhaps the concept of love for animals should be extended a bit further than what today’s society practices.

Searching for ‘compassion’ and ‘generosity’ online, I came across pictures of well-dressed gentlemen handing over some cash (or coins) to dirty-looking beggars on the streets. Others were images of two hands, one giving and the other receiving, and a bunch of African kids being fed by smiling people (mostly foreigners). Noble pictures, but not good enough. Not what I had in mind, either.

As a mother, I do not want my kids to grow up thinking that being generous is all about being smartly dressed, giving money to beggars, or feeding the poor. They need to understand that giving money is not all, and definitely not the pinnacle of benevolence.

Showing compassion and generosity is not about donating money or giving away food once in a while, and feeling good about it. Rather these two values are something they need to live with, every moment.

It may be difficult, but crucial for kids to understand that it is not good enough to simply give money, and soon retreat back into an exclusive, self-indulgent comfort zone thinking that they have performed their duties to others.

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But real generosity means that their life journeys, mundane pursuits, work and struggle are devoted to a bigger goal, that isupholding and sustaining a system, which creates equality and equity in human life.

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Love for animals

The simple and superficial idea about loving animals is basically having a nice pet in the house, or giving food to stray cats and dogs.

I noticed that my kids were often fascinated by the idea of having a pet, simply because of the typical portrayals in the mainstream media, such as, a cute girl cuddling a kitten, posh family with a furry Chihuahua, or ‘Princess Sofea’ with her rabbit, ‘Clover’. It makes me seriously wonder: is this love for animal? Or is this what animals really need?

While there is nothing wrong with having pets or showing affection to cute baby animals, perhaps the concept of love for animals should be extended a bit further than what today’s society practices.

Having concern for animals is not merely keeping them at home, or continuously cuddling them, or feeding them with ‘nutritious’, processed food. It may not even be necessary to have pets, for not all pets are free from posing health effects.

We should rather consider animals’ inborn nature and avoid its disruption. We should let them co-exist in peace with other living beings, in accordance with the natural cycle of life.

The point is to preserve the balance in nature, so as not to drive animals away from their natural habitat or make them dependent on us. When animals turn abnormal or deviate from their nature because of humans’ interference, that is no longer love, no matter much how we try to compensate for the damage done. In fact, some humans do more harm than good while ‘showing love’ to animals.

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About Raudah Mohd Yunus
Raudah Mohd Yunus is a researcher, writer and social activist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her research interests include aging, elder abuse, human trafficking and refugees health. She is the editor of two books; ‘Tales of Mothers: Of courage and love’ and ‘Displaced and Forgotten: Memoirs of refugees.’