My family and I had a great trip at the zoo! The danger at the zoo is NOT me taking my children to the zoo but instead not taking the time to take them to a place they want to go. For most children, they do not get to spend time with their family by going and learning because most families are too busy. Although the zoo can be a dangerous place, the real danger comes when families refuse to spend time together. A family that spends time together, stays together. Spending time together can be anything from putting a puzzle together, going to the fair, the zoo or a festival. Spending time together is NOT sitting down to watch TV, a movie or playing video games.
Yesterday, I took my wife and both of my daughters to the St Louis Zoo. I did not go to the zoo to see the animals, even though we saw a lot of them. I did not go to the zoo because I enjoy long drives, even though we had a long drive.
I took my daughters to the zoo just to spend time with my kids. My family decided to buy a season pass to the zoo so that we could go anytime that we wanted to go. The biggest way for parents and specifically fathers to have an impact on their children is to get to know them. To spend time with their children. To show them that they are loved and special.
While we were at the zoo, their where several families that were doing it right. I saw mothers and fathers showing their children different animals, reading the signs to their children so they could learn. I also saw parents that were failing at parenthood. Parents that were allowing their sons to walk around smoking, cussing and making a scene. My wife and I saw a little boy who were climbing the rocks and swing on trees and this boy was probably only 10 years old. We also saw young girls, that were hanging out with some adults, that were wearing clothes that showed people their bodies, leaving little to the imagination. This is not how you show children love. This is called neglect and child abuse.
Parenting your children shows your children that you value them and that they are more important than a body image. As parents, specifically as fathers, it is our job to show our daughters that they are more than just a body. They are more than just something to look at. Our children need to know that they have value and are worth more than a piece of clothing. They are worth more than the attention they will receive wearing those types of clothes.
The real danger in the zoo is forgetting the reason why we are there with our families. We are there to learn, grow, encourage and build our families. When we allow our children to take charge, we do them a disservice in allowing them to be ok with men looking at them like an object. We do them a disservice in showing them that their value comes from what other people think of them. We do them a disservice in holding them down instead of setting them free. Freedom is showing love. Freedom is caring. Freedom is having a place to belong. Freedom with family, is spending time with the people that you care about.
How much do you care for your children, should actually read, how much time do you spend with your children?