The language of children

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

We all get the question, "So what do you do?" It's what humans ask each other. I answer, "I train animals." Eyes light up and the next question is, "What kind?"

My answer is sometimes, "the ones who are driving their humans bonkers" but is usually, "sentient companions - like horses, dogs, bunnies and the humans they have, often children." That one gets a smile and a sharp retort, "You train children?" I smile. "Yes."

Children are beautiful to me.

They are the human animal before it is shadowed by the heavy side of society and the conditions of the world. A child can understand any language - French, Spanish, Armenian. Children speak the language of the animals before anyone has "taught" them.

Before a child learns to guard its ego, watching this child interact with the world and with the social animals that contact it is simply the most beautiful thing. A child will learn the physical skills to speak the language that is practiced around him. As the child becomes older and the ego begins to defend itself, this open understanding of languages begins to close.

Working with a child when the ego is young and whole; when its ability to receive, understand and exchange in the languages still exists, is a precious privilege.

Teaching young Billie how to pick up and hold his birthday boa; showing Ellie how to bring her horse in with her posture; teaching the puppy and his new boy to walk and play together while practicing "come, sit, stay," are not so much teaching as they are showing the child what he or she already knows. Each project with a child and his or her animal will invariably bring a tiny tear and a smile to my heart. Yes, I do like my job.