Monday, November 03, 2008

A day in the zoo 

Here in New York city, polls reveal that some 80 percent of women and a slightly lower percentage of men feel they are severely stressed by the damage done to the country’s economy in the past month. No one has asked for my advice on what to do. But if they did, I’d tell them to spend a day at the Bronx Zoo, preferably on Wednesdays when the admission is free and the park is packed with thousands of children from the city’s schools. I’d advise them to listen to the children, watch how they react to the animals and learn from them. In fact, any zoo will do, or any park, beach, woods or rural area as long as there are children and small animals. No zoo is too humble, the Bronx Zoo or Manila Zoo; any strange animal, big or small, is as good as any other.

On the Staten Island ferry a day later, we saw another example of children’s openness. A small, curly-haired, Hispanic boy of 3 or 4 years old tried to make friends with a family of very orthodox, Hasidic Jews. The Jewish little boys had ritual locks of hair falling by their ears and wore brown and white clothes that looked like uniforms. They looked shy and not used to carefree ways. The little Hispanic boy ran around them and even put his head in the family’s baby carriage to kiss the baby. For him all kids were friends and family. The Jewish children were surprised at first, but soon they, too, were all playing.


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