Hannah and Emily came running in the house and breathlessly announced that Hannah had seen a "baby snake" at their bike ramp.
"How long was it?"
She spreads her fingers about 4 inches. Kind of small for a snake, but Children aren't always the best judge of measurements.
"What color was it?"
"Brown with black markings" was her reply.
In my state, that could possibly mean a copperhead or water moccasin, but I've never seen one at our place. These are not reptiles I want near where my children play. However, I've learned to be patient and gather as many facts as I can before responding in my decades of parenting.
"Will you please draw me a picture?"
Hannah drew the picture above, and I knew right away it was a Little Brown Skink which is a harmless creature. They can move so quickly; you can miss seeing their tiny legs and mistake them for a baby snake.
Skinks are very beneficial to humans. They eat the bugs that destroy our crops and pests that invade our homes. I used this opportunity to Teach my youngest two about the role of the skink and the God given responsibility of having dominion and stewardship over the earth.
Now, I am not fond of slithery things, and I certainly do not not want them touching me. If they surprise me, I'll scream so loud you will hear it from where you sit. I'd be quite happy if I never came across another slithery thing. However, I was not given this job as a mother to teach my children about my preferences or aversions. I am to teach them God's unadulterated truth. So, I can't mindlessly mother. Mothering requires thoughtfulness and careful consideration of what God's Word says.
The truth is that we have been given dominion and stewardship over the earth and the creatures on it. We need to take the job as seriously as we do the other jobs He has given us like parenting, ministry, marriage, career, etc.
If we react with fear or revulsion to every little creature we see, it can lead us to foolishly destroying the gifts God has given us in creation. Then, we lose the benefits God has in place.
God says His thoughts and ways are much higher than mine, so I believe the benefits of letting creatures, like the Little Brown Skink, alone extend much further than I can imagine.
I also believe God will bless us for slowing down in the course of our day to consider Him as we go along and also for choosing kindness over cruelty.
Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”