I try hard not to judge other people's parenting choices. It's difficult, and I love to debate and ponder those I don't understand with the best of them, but when it comes down to it, I believe most parents know what's best for their children. MOST, but not all. And I can't in any way stop from judging a couple who let their daughter play with a dead squirrel and filmed it with delight.
The fact that they put the video on YouTube, which has since gone viral, makes the whole thing even worse. As a point of full disclosure, I hate squirrels whether they're dead or alive, so I may be a bit biased. However, I see no good in letting your toddler daughter carry around a dead animal of any kind. None.
Check out the video after the jump:
The girl is adorable, but the whole thing is disturbing. According to The Daily Dot, the family's dog killed the squirrel, and while her parents went inside to get a shovel (and a camera?) for the rodent's burial, their daughter, Thea, picked it up and loved it immediately.
While the video was taken several years ago, it was posted on YouTube in February and just recently went viral. Jenny Malik, Thea's mother, said they released it because they "knew it was something different, and I really hoped it would touch people.”
Touch isn't exactly the word I would use to describe it. Also -- why the hell did they call the dog out to check out his handiwork? That was a disaster waiting to happen that fortunately didn't.
My overall reaction to the video is not even just disgust, as I would hope a good bath probably would take care of any germs she encountered. I think it's the idea of letting a child get that close to death that is the most disturbing. Thea's father, Sean Leonard, described why he thinks the video is important to The Daily Dot:
I think it addresses some of the fundamentals of life. It addresses death, but it’s also tempered by the innocence of a child. It’s this juxtaposition of the morbidity of death intermingled with the animation and joy of life, her sheer joy at being able to touch a squirrel. That’s what she was experiencing in that moment: how soft it was, [that] it was yielding to her will, she could pick it up, it wasn’t running away. She just didn’t understand what death was.
Uh, okay ...
As far as I'm concerned, death and children shouldn't even be uttered in the same sentence, though unfortunately, all too often they are. Still, as a parent, I choose to keep some of the scary and inexplicable realities of things like death (and squirrels) from mine; I wish I always could. But even if you choose to teach your child about the loss of life early, they don't need a body in hand to start understanding, and they don't need to be used to teach the world a lesson.
Overall, I've got to say the video feels like a cheap ploy for some publicity. If you chose to parent with dead squirrels, that's one thing, but to post the video for the world to see serves no purpose other than your own.
What do you think of these parents letting their daughter play with a dead squirrel?
Image via YouTube