Every Sunday night, all summer long, my 4 year old has been asking me this question: “Mama, Mama, Mama, does Supewhewo Camp stawt tomowwow?”
Finally, two days ago I was able to give him the answer he so desperately wanted to hear, “Yes, buddy! Yes! Tomorrow is the first day of Superhero Camp!”
“Woohoooo!” he yelped while punching at the air with his tiny, happy fists. “Mama, Mama, Mama, can I weaw my Supewman T-shiwt?”
“Is it clean?” (Sadly my response is too often what he so desperately doesn’t want to hear but that day he was in luck.)
He took off for his room to pack a bag and lay out his clothes for the following day. Then he came back down, “But Mama. Mama. Mama,” he said patting my rear end, “I need anothew Supewhewo shiwt for the next day.”
“You can wear your Wild Kratts T-shirt, dude! Chris Kratt is the best superhero ever!”
“The Kwatt bwothews awen’t supewhewos.”
“Whhaaaattt??? Of course they are! They rescue animals don’t they?”
“But, Mama, they don’t F-LLLYYYYYY.”
“When they have on their falcon creature power suits they can.”
“OH YAH!!!!! I’m going to be Chwis Kwatts. WOOHOOOO! Can I weaw a cape wiff my T-shiwt?”
If you have a little one at home, you are probably familiar with the Kratt brothers on PBS. They are animal experts who are known for getting down and dirty with creatures of all kinds, first with their show Zoboomafoo and later with their hit show Wild Kratts. They don’t hesitate to roll in the mud or tromp though a swamp… and they’re fun to watch. My kids love these guys. Especially my nature-loving boy. Honestly, “nature-loving” might be an understatement. Nature-ADORING, Nature-OBSESSING, Nature-WORSHIPPING boy is more on the mark. My oldest daughter regularly entertains us by singing the Wild Kratts theme song to the rhythm of her own clapping hands while Nature Boy spins wildly in circles and hurls his body onto the floor. (This primitive behavior is considered dancing in my household.)
What I love about Chris and Martin Kratt, and why I’m writing about them today on BUBs, is that they’ve created a wholesome program that is centered on compassion, education, nature AND adventure. This is especially important for our young boys who are almost always attracted to shows, events and toys that involve destruction and fighting. Caring for and rescuing animals is a beautiful lesson in compassion and I’m standing up applauding these guys and the work they do.
Animals are a wonderful way to teach our little boys about reflexive compassion. When we witness an animal in trouble, compassion is automatic. And once that feeling of compassion becomes part of a child’s emotional foundation, they can have a better understanding of how to apply it when dealing with people. Let’s face it, it can be hard to have compassion for humans sometimes. As a mindful adult I find that I consistently have to remind myself to be compassionate when people around me are acting like jerks. Imagine how challenging that is for a kid!
So there was a study that came out a few years ago. I can’t remember who conducted it, but it was a happiness study based on words posted by children on social media sites (happy, love, peace, etc.). Guess which state was voted to have the happiest kids in America? (Go ahead and play some thought-stimulating Jeopardy music in your head while you ponder… Doo! Do-do-do-do-do-do. Bom, bum!)
Yah baby. Go New England! I’ve gotta say, I’m not surprised. Have you ever been to a New Hampshire State Fair? One conversation with a young person about how they feel when caring for their animals is all you need to be convinced of the cornerstone of their happiness and kindness. Farmer kids and 4-H kids are so damn nice. The way these kids love and care for animals is inspiring. So in a state like NH where nature prevails and farms are everywhere, I’m venturing a guess that the reason for being the happiest state in the nation has something to do with animals. At least that’s my unscientific, un-researched theory. But pretty a good one, right?
Kindness and compassion, though two different qualities, support each other in every way. It’s impossible to have one without the other.
So in this spaghetti test called life, I suggest to toss the Kratt brothers against the wall and see if they stick. My son is still only in-the-making of a man but from what I see so far, I have little doubt that his deep and passionate love for animals and nature are helping him to build a strong foundation of compassion and kindness. Big props to my favorite superheroes for their contribution in supporting his development. PBS made a great investment when they plunked their taxpayer dollars down on Wild Kratts. Check your local guide for listings.
From mine to yours,
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