Animal Crackers

  by Betsy Otter Thompson

Animal Crackers When I was a child, Nabisco had a product called Animal Crackers. Maybe they still do. As a child, these cookies got my attention. I loved how they tasted, how they felt, and how they looked. I also loved the packaging. The box alone was a gift worthy of notice. Each animal cracker had characteristics that stirred my imagination, and I never knew which creative image my fingers would select. As a child, I even considered the habitat of those animals, and enjoyed envisioning their environment. I didn’t care if the cookies were broken or chipped; I was hooked on the total package.

Are we were forgetting how diverse and appealing the human species is, too? If we delight in the uniqueness of the fish, birds, and beasts, why can’t we do the same for ourselves? Aren’t we uniquely formed in different colors, shapes, and sounds? And don’t we have our habitats that suits our personal growth? No one says to an elephant, why aren’t you more like a possum? No one says to a rhinoceros, why don’t you sound like a bird? No one says to a groundhog, why can’t you run like a horse? Why can’t we find the same delight in our differences that we do with the animals?

In common, we all have a heart that beats, a body that functions, and a brain that reacts to stimuli. When the animal is attacked, it does whatever it must to survive. Why are we surprised when humans do the same? Animals are only following their instincts just as we are.

The world is shrinking. Intercontinental communications, transportation systems, and escalating populations make isolation impossible. How can we live harmoniously without accepting each other? Yes, lots of people are working for peace, but many have forgotten where it sources. It won’t come from focusing on the negatives, making people wrong or calling religions evil. It won’t come from refusing to take responsibility, or from shifting the blame to others. Peace cannot be lived in the big picture of Earth until it is lived in the small picture of individual lives.

When the question of peace comes up for me, I ask if I am living at peace with the people who are around me. Am I taking responsibility instead of blaming, am I looking for the goodness instead of the hatred, and am I tolerant instead of bigoted? Perhaps my goal is not to have the right religion, the right beliefs, and the right nationality, but to love the ones I have.

The animal kingdom works perfectly when left alone to evolve. Yes, there is death in the jungle, but there is also order. There is acceptance and cooperation, at least until we humans interrupt the balance. And as we interrupt the balance for them, perhaps we interrupt our own.

Animals come here wrapped in a package that suits their purpose on Earth. And haven’t we done the same by coming here with the body, heart, and intelligence that suits our particular purpose? Why wouldn’t every choice be made for the same reason?

I know that healing begins with me; not with this or that leader in this or that nation. I believe that leaders reflect the acting out of the masses in whatever country they rule. And I trust that when we love and accept each other for exactly who we are, our leaders will mirror that oneness.