Among the MANY pets our kids had over the years, one of my favorites was Sally the Salamander and the salamanders that came after her. Why? Oh, let me count the ways…
Sally and friends were low-maintenance and easy to care for. Sally and friends were friendly and non-aggressive. Sally and friends were hardy and didn’t go to ‘pet heaven’ at the drop of a hat.
Sally and friends were cute. Yes, cute. Something shiny black with bright yellow spots is cute no matter how you look at it.
But most of all, Sally and friends served as excellent reminders of what home and family are really all about. How? Glad you asked….
Salamanders live and thrive only where the eco-system is perfectly balanced. This served to remind me that my children needed a balance of fun, laughter, freedom, rules, discipline, and times to be serious.
No two salamanders have the exact same spot pattern; reminding me that all four of my kids are different and need to be respected, loved, and appreciated for those differences. This fact also served to help me instill in my children that they are beautiful and uniquely created by God…and God don’t make no junk.
Salamanders have the ability to grow new tails and even limbs. What a relief this has been to me at times when I’ve been a less-than-stellar parent when it comes to disciplining my kids or letting them know how precious they are to me. It reminds me that in spite of my imperfections, as long as my kids know my love for them is unconditional and unwavering, they are resilient and recover from my screw-ups.
Salamanders aren’t aggressive and they don’t bully other animals, but they do have the subtle ability to protect themselves from predators by emitting a slimy coating over their bodies that is obnoxious to animals that try to attack them. While I never wanted or encouraged my kids to pick a fight or be a bully or mean girl, we gave them the skills and permission to stand up for themselves and to protect themselves from the emotional and physical assaults that came their way.
Salamanders lead a simple, quiet life. They live in humble settings and eat only what they need. Oh, and they return to the same pond to breed and lay/hatch their eggs year after year after year. I hope and pray I gave my children hearts that desire to live simply and without a sense of entitlement or hunger for money and things, and to be committed to family like Sally and friends did.
Who would have thought the lowly, silent salamander had so much to say?
I guess that leaves me with just one question for you:
Do you have a salamander? If not, you should.
Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.