My sons fish died today! I let him scoop it up with a dixie cup and carry him over to the toilet for the proverbial porcelain ceremony of respect. He said, "sorry fish you died, I really loved you and I wanna get another one, but I'm sorry you have to go down the pipes!" Flush!
"Hey, daddy, can we get another fish, like right now or tomorrow?"
He's about to turn six and this was his third fish. I never know exactly what to say but I wanted him to understand, so I said, "Honey, not everything is replaceable. Someday people you know are gonna die one day and you can't just go buy new ones. Do you understand?"
He didn’t and I'm not sure when he will, but I remember I finally understood. I was about six or seven years old and I took my cute little guinea pig out to the back of the house, I stood about a foot away from our brick house and began to gently bounce my guinea pig off of the wall like a ball. I guess I thought it was fun for him. I’d catch him and do it again and again until suddenly he was still. I got concerned and went into the house to asked my mother what happened. She gently informed me that I had killed him. I started to sob. It was a dumb thing to do, I regretted it instantly and never wanted to hurt another animal again.
The next day my best friend David - who was about a year older than me- put out some bird seed in his gravel driveway. I followed him into his bathroom, he opened the window and waited for the birds to arrive. Pop! Pop! Pop! He nailed everyone. My heart hurt. David passed the BB gun to me, but for some reason I was a terrible shot, yep I couldn't hit a single one of them. I'm an animal lover till this day and I have a feeling my son will be too, but it might take more than a little fish dying for him to comprehend what death means.