The Human Condition

My son's fascination and fear of animals says so much about human nature it's amazes me. Our fear of everything we don't understand. He's afraid of them yet they intrigue him. They interest him. He is in awe of them. He would learn of them and learn so much from them if only he didn't have such unfounded fear. Thank God for books, Am I right?
I make up stories and scenarios to help him along. I'm hoping that as he grows older his interest in these creatures will bring him out of the fear but his cautious personality and just in general being fearful of everything has taught him to think hard and long before getting close to or explore anything he doesn't understand.

It's not just him. It doesn't seem to be just my son. That is how us humans function.
Some would argue that if we didn't have the cautious nature, and that we didn't have the natural ability of wanting to stay away from everything that we find threatening and dangerous we wouldn't have made it as far as we have as a species.
A completely valid argument, none the less we have this fear not just for animals and for species that we are Unfamiliar with, but we feel this way about our own kind.
I'll stick with my son's example. He's a very cautious little boy. He will not eat anything he has not seen, touched, smelled and tested before. He will not talk to anyone he has not seen, met, and is extremely comfortable with. If you ask him for a hug, oh gosh…that is just the most difficult task, even for us, let alone for a half stranger.
When it's time to make friends he applies the same kind of logic. Be cautious. Judge, ask questions, look carefully, what is that on his/her clothes? Why do they dress that way? Look that way? I don't want this here? I don't like it. He is super picky. We all are whether we like to admit it or not. We want our friends to be like us. So we gravitate towards people like us. It's animals in a herd. All side by side in their own groups scared of the other, hunting the other without knowing why.
Oh did I comparing us humans to animals? How dare I?
Oh but I dare. Go to any "international" gathering and herds of international people being national. Very few minglers. You'll find them. Very few.
Awkward minglers I'd like to ad. I know, I'm one of them. You try to go around and talk to different people and you get *looks*.
Sometimes you want to throw in the towel and just sit in with your own herd but then I think of my kid and his fascination with animals and how scared he is of them. And how I tell him stories about not everything that looks different is scary. And that we won't know until we try.
I want my children to be explorers. I want them to have a variety of experiences and that's not going happen by me sitting on the sidelines.
Ah…did I just compare us humans to animals again? How dare I.

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