Often we get pets for our children in order to teach them valuable lessons about the circle of life and the responsibilities involved with caring for another living creature. But we can also use pets to teach our kids valuable Christian lessons as well.
“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.” Job 12:7
If you think about it, there’s at least one reference to caring for animals found in the Bible – Noah’s Ark. But there’s also when Jesus rode on a mule, or more precisely, “On a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zech 9:9) on Palm Sunday in order to show his humility. Depending upon which biblical reference you’re using, this connection to an equestrian creature also comes into play when you consider:
● An ass was integral to the tale of Abraham when he was offering his son Isaac as a sign of obedience to God
● When King Solomon rode to his coronation on a mule that once belonged to David
While these animals wouldn’t be considered as pets in a traditional sense, they still show the important value of obedience, along with an association and connection with other animals in these ancient times. Here are three key values children can learn from the pets they keep.
A Disciple of Discipline
Often younger children won’t understand the concept of discipline, especially why it’s so important that they behave, follow the rules and understand the important direction of their parents. But when they’re put into a situation where they need to be in charge, this can become quite clear to them. Now kids can see that pets need to be told “no” when they do something wrong, behave improperly or show other types of bad behaviors that simply aren’t acceptable.
Do Unto Others
While this concept can be much easier to swallow than disciplining someone for bad behavior, it can still be used as an example for stopping inappropriate actions. Children can become overly rambunctious during playtime with their pets, denying toys or teasing them, but parents can quickly interact to come in and ask their youngsters some important questions like, “How would you feel if someone took your toy away and wouldn’t give it back to you?”
Water Into Wine
We all recall the passage when Jesus turned water into wine following a wedding ceremony, but He still needed to be present in order to perform this well-known miracle. This is another important lesson we can teach our children about the value of their presence (and not presents) in their pet’s life and this important relationship they have with them.
Proverbs 12:10 says, “A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal.” Children shouldn’t be able to pick-and-choose when they want to interact with this animal and ignore them simply because they may not be in the mood to play with them or acknowledge their existence. It may not seem like a miracle to a pet for a child to pay attention to them, but parents should watch out for this type of behavior and remind kids to connect with their animal regardless of their mood and current circumstances.
Along with the rest of the members of our family, kids should pray for their pets right alongside their four-legged best friends when they lay themselves down to sleep at night. God Bless the beasts and the children and taking lyrics from this long-ago song, remember to:
Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them
Bless the beasts and the Children
Give them shelter from the storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm