It seems having a pet is a natural part of life for most families. We’re all familiar with the studies that show that having a pet lengthens your life and petting an animal lowers blood pressure, but did you realize that Fluffy and Fido are also teachers? Kids can learn a great deal from having animals in their lives – characteristics that will make them better adults.
- Compassion – Children by nature are self-centered beings. Having an animal around that depends on them will help them see the bigger picture and learn to seek ways to help others and ease suffering.
- Consideration – Letting the cat sleep or the dog eat and leaving them alone while they do so teaches kids to consider others’ feelings and preferences, which will make those around them later in life very thankful.
- Gentleness – When you whisper, “Easy” to Jules as he strokes the cat, he learns the value of gentleness, which will come in handy when dealing with other animals, smaller children, and the elderly as he grows older.
- Helpfulness – This is the continuation of compassion, where kids learn to put their compassion into action. Opening the door to let the cat out, brushing the burrs out of his tail, and feeding the dog teach kids that helpfulness doesn’t have to be a big production – the little things matter, too.
- Loyalty – Seeing the faithfulness of a family pet teaches kids by example. They’ll learn how to stick by other family members and friends.
- Responsibility – Feeding the pets is more than just a chore for children. It puts them in the habit of doing daily actions that form the basis of being a responsible adult, doing daily things like cleaning up and working.
If you are considering getting a pet for your family, I encourage you to do so. The benefits and lessons your family will gain are tremendous – you’ll see your kids growing right before your eyes.