It was a lazy, hot, summer day between my 5th & 6th grade. Several friends and I had made slingshots using an old bicycle inner tube and a forked branch. We were anxious to try them. At first we shot at inanimate objects but soon lost interest and decided to go bird hunting.
We were enjoying ourselves pretending to be big time hunters shooting in an imaginary game, and then I saw it, approximately 75 feet away, sitting on an electrical wire.
Carefully I picked up a rock, put it in my slingshot, took aim, and let it fly at the little robin. The rock hit it and knocked it off the wire. My friends started slapping me on the back, giving me a lot of kudos, and I felt like the mighty hunter I was pretending to be.
I hurried to the little robin that was barely alive. I picked it up, and it died in my hands. Suddenly the joy and fun of our little hunting adventure turned to guilt. I had just taken the life of that little bird that didn’t deserve to die.
I didn’t cry because I was with my friends and crying would have been a sign of weakness and no 11-year- old boy wanted that. I controlled the tears but inside I was shedding bucket loads of emotional tears. To this day (more than 50 years later) I still remember the feeling I had holding that little dying bird in my hands.
This mighty hunter kept his slingshot and continued playing but I never shot at another living creature. Somehow killing an innocent bird was not fun at all.
The lesson I learned that day was to respect all living creatures. Let’s teach our children to respect life and if we choose to hunt or to fish let’s help them understand that we don’t kill just to kill, or just for fun, but to eat and enjoy the meat. These activities are good ways to develop a relationship with our children and teach them to respect all life.
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