This image is the evidence of an unusual family adventure yesterday. The boys came running to let us know they’d found a snake that was stuck and needed our help. To be honest, I have to say, I didn’t rush to help. I informed them that the snake could wait while we finished our conversation. When we made our way over to it, it was a sad sight, no doubt.
Even if you hate snakes.
To find a living thing in this condition was heartbreaking. I was glad the boys found him and asked us to help him. It appeared as though the poor guy had tried to take cover, only to become completely trapped by his head in green plastic netting. He’d apparently struggled for quite some time as the netting was not only wrapped around and around his neck, but also inside his mouth. About the first 6 inches of his body was trapped, but the rest of him was free.
There was no way he could free himself.
Scott, the boys, and I all worked together to carefully cut him free and carry him to cover in the adjacent grassy field. It was an exciting family adventure that will be a story to tell for years to come. But I posted the video on Facebook and there’s clearly a strong stigma around snakes.
We’re often afraid of what we don’t know.
A few years back, I joined a group on Facebook called “What Kind of Snake is This? – North Texas“, because we have snakes in the lake near our house and I wanted to know whether or not they were dangerous. It’s been an incredibly enlightening journey for me. It’s a really wonderful group of people who are working to positively educate others about snakes. If you post a picture, they’ll ID it for you in a matter of seconds. And if you’re afraid, they’ll often offer to come pick them up for you. Because of that group, I was 99.9% sure this guy was harmless. After it was all over, they ID’d him for me as a harmless Prairie King Snake, and of course, they were grateful that we helped him. For a girl who grew up thinking all snakes were to be killed with a shovel at first sight, I’ve come a long way.
This little snake story is proof that we can do better.
We can change the narratives we’ve been taught. When something, or someone, seems scary simply because we don’t know enough about them, we can lean into that. We can recognize that fear, for what it is . . . fear of the unknown. We can educate ourselves. We can lean in and get closer.
People, and apparently snakes, are hard to hate up close.
Whether you have a fear of snakes, your in-laws, people with different religious beliefs or political views, or people from different cultures than the one you grew up in, lean in. Get curious.
Ask questions and commit to learning more.
It will change more than just your Sunday afternoon, because the next generation is watching. Sure, they’re listening to what you say. But mostly, they are watching what you do.
You can show them that love is curious.
to more love,