When I was in my early teens, my mom told me that how a young man treats his mother and service staff can serve as an indicator for how he will treat his partner. The gist was, when I was ready to start dating, I should seek out a kind and respectful man. Eventually, I found just that.
If I ever find myself in the position of guiding a young lady in her search for companionship, I would add on to the above. Pay attention to how that young man treats other living creatures–plants, animals, and insects.
Last night, while driving home, we spotted a gopher snake in the middle of a neighborhood street, likely displaced from his home after the heavy rains. We slowed, pulled into the median, and turned on the emergency blinkers. We pulled a flashlight, leather gloves, grippers, and a cardboard box out of the truck–our makeshift “critter rescue kit.” We worked together to relocate the little guy from the asphalt to the side of the road. While trying to coax the snake from the box, a huge truck flew by. I think we saved his life.
A few months ago, a bat got into our bedroom. We were up until 4 AM with open windows, gentle broom strokes, and a squeaky creature circling the edges of the walls. I wanted to sleep. He wanted to see that the bat survived the night.
We are on a first name basis with the volunteers at a local wildlife rescue. We’ve discovered, captured, and transported dozens of ducklings, goslings, mourning doves, white wing doves, quail, and rabbits over the years. We teared up when the gosling, and later the rabbit, died on the way to the rescue.
We catch and release spiders, geckos, and moths from the house on a daily basis. We allow the half-inch baby geckos and Carolina Wolf spiders to stay when they inevitably sneak back inside.
When our condo’s irrigation system stopped working, my boyfriend insisted on hauling buckets of water across the complex to save the trees. Everyday that summer, I rolled my eyes, lifted the bucket, and perplexed over how someone could care just as much about the stupid oleander as a family member.
If he is capable of doing something to help, he does. Always.
If I had a daughter, a niece, or influence over another young person in my life, I would share this with them. Don’t prioritize appearance, wealth, or prestige because those things are fleeting. Find a young man with a good heart. Find a man who love his parents, is kind to everyone he meets, and who respects all forms of life. Choose a man who not only wouldn’t hurt a fly, but who would spend an hour of his precious time trying to save it.