Hermione's Decision Making
There are so many decisions to make when you become a parent. How do I want to raise my child? What values are most important to me to instill in her? What lessons do I want to teach?
Before Doug and I became parents we made the decision that our family would not visit circuses, zoos, or anywhere that wild animals are in captivity. We are vegans and animal lovers and believe with our entire hearts that wild animals do not belong in cages, or in shows where they are forced to perform. Our girls have fully embraced our beliefs on this and are both quite opposed to zoos, circuses and anything similar.
While we have made it clear to our girls that as a family we will not visit zoos and circuses, recently there have been a few instances where Hermione has been invited to the zoo independent of us. Wanting her to be an individual we have always left the choice up to her.
Last year, as Hermione was about to finish pre-school there was a field trip to the Bronx Zoo for all of the “graduating” students. Doug and I sat Hermione down and explained to her that Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t be volunteering to chaperone the field trip and if she would like to go and spend the day there with her friends that was her decision. We would support what ever she chose. She barely took a moment to think it over. She looked us in the eye and informed us that she would not be going on the trip because she doesn’t like animals in cages. I was so proud that she had made that decision on her own knowing that if she wanted to go to the zoo we would have supported her.
Last month, Hermione received an invitation to her best friend’s birthday party. The party was a trip to the Bronx Zoo with a small group of friends. Yet again Doug and I told her that the choice was hers to make and we would support her either way. A bit to our surprise she told us she did not want to go. Even though it was her very best friend’s birthday she still did not want to go somewhere animals are in cages.
Last week we got an announcement from school that her Kindergarten class’ last field trip of the year would be…a trip to the Bronx Zoo. This time, Hermione heard about the trip before we had a chance to talk to her about it. She got quite upset in school. She tearily told her teachers she does not want to go where animals are in cages. She begged me and Doug to email school and tell them our family doesn’t go to zoos. We did and luckily for us her school is incredibly supportive of our family values. Not only is Hermione allowed to miss school the day of the field trip but they are hoping she will talk to the class about her beliefs and why she thinks zoos are wrong. They support her as much as we do and love how self assured she is in her views.
As Hermione gets older I know there will be many decisions she makes that I do not agree with. All I can do is share my own beliefs and values in her and trust her judgment. So far she has made me incredibly proud with her self assurance and firm beliefs. She may only be six but she truly knows who she is and what she stands for. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.