Yesterday morning, one of the daycare facilities of our kibbutz paid a surprise visit to the pet zoo. This is nothing out of the ordinary and usually a fun occasion. This time though, they took the element of “surprise” a little too far. They arrived cheerfully bearing a small carton box containing two even tinier ducklings. It turned out that the father of one of the children thought it would be a good idea to bring two ducklings to the daycare, without telling them. As a result, the teacher thought it would be a good idea to bring them to me – without telling me.
Well, of course I took the ducklings. How could I not, with fifteen three-year olds looking at me expectantly? But no, I was not particularly pleased. Not because the ducklings weren’t cute – of course they were – but because no one had thought of letting anyone know that two ducklings were on their way to me via the daycare.
Once again, I have to ask myself desperately what some people are thinking..?? Did the father really not think before he brought them of inquiring whether the daycare was equipped to take care of two baby ducklings..? (No, of course they are not). And why, why on earth did the teacher not tell the father politely but firmly to take the ducklings back to where they came from? Why did she accept them, then bring them to me without even phoning me first..?
Well. I didn’t really get an answer to these questions, even though I did ask them (not particularly patiently, I confess). The general idea was “we thought it would be nice for the children”. No one was concerned as to whether it would be nice for the ducklings, or for me. Here I am, trying to teach kids to be respectful of animals, only to have parents and teachers showing them the exact opposite.
(Just a side note: this was someone from outside the kibbutz. Most people I know are lovely and very respectful of animals and of me. Just sometimes, you get someone who breaks all the rules and really gets my goat!)
Anyway, I improvised a little swimming pool in the chick cage and showed the kids how the ducks need a heat lamp and special food (not bread, as they had given them before). Delight ensued when the babies started splashing in the dish. I realised I can turn this into a learning experience! Lesson titled “What do ducklings need, and how fast they grow” (very fast). Just so these kids grow up knowing that it’s not a good idea to land ducklings on unsuspecting daycarers. Even if there is a convenient pet zoo nearby.