Amy and I love our children.  In fact, we think they are the most fascinating creatures in the world.  But it sure is a lot of work trying to civilize those little people.  “Maggie, please stop making that chirping sound.”  “Bailey, don’t make fun of your brother.” “Andrew, why didn’t you tell us you needed to poop?”  It’s as if kids were pre-programmed to create chaos and generally make life difficult for their parents.  Recently it dawned on me how much easier it would be to domesticate a wild animal (just name a species) than a human child.  And, being an obsessive list-maker, I came up with ten reasons why.  So I present that list to you now for your consideration.  Bear in mind that these items pertain to various ages, basically covering the age range of our own kids at this time:  2 to 9 years.

Unlike kids, wild animals do not

1. Have to be taught the value of work and self-discipline.

2. Fight over unimportant matters.

3. Make random noises just to irritate those around them.

4. Say or do things solely for the sake of hurting someone else.

5. Tell lies and fabricate stories.

6. Boast and brag.

7. Grumble and complain, even when all of their needs are met.

8. Envy.

9. Try to embarrass others for sheer entertainment.

10. Excrete on their own bodies.

This might seem depressing, but I take heart in the fact that I, too, was once such a savage beast.  Somehow my parents managed to tame me, so perhaps we will have some similar success with our little wild ones.  May God keep us sane as we try.  And may he bless the efforts of the rest of you zookeepers . . . uh, I mean . . . parents out there.

2 Responses to “The Difference Between Children and Wild Animals”

  1. Lezlie


    Jim, you still have one of my favorite senses of humor. (Strangely enough, it’s not the kind I actually laugh at, but I do enjoy it!)

    I’ve been wondering at points if I couldn’t apply principles from training my dog to training my children. For instance, my dog thinks it’s great when I tell her to go fetch something for me, but most children consider it a drag. Is there a way to avoid this? My dog also stops what she’s doing and sits on command and will stay in one place if instructed. All children should learn those tricks! (Of course, she also has been taught to jump over sticks and do dances simply to make other people happy. Perhaps I should teach my children those sorts of tricks as well!)

  2. Jim Spiegel



    I love humoring people without making them laugh. Its a lot better than having people laugh at you when they’re not humored.

    Also, interesting thoughts on teaching tricks to dogs and kids. In one sense raising a child involves teaching them all the “tricks” of civility—saying “please” and “thank you,” opening doors for people, etc.—with the hope these behaviors will harden into traits of character. Here’s a shout out to Aristotle for this approach to the moral life (roughly speaking).


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