I once took a live chicken into a 3rd grade classroom of a New Orleans public school. From the shrieks and actual physical spasms you might have thought I brought in a tiger. The majority of the children were not just afraid, they seemed sincerely terrified.
Does it bite? they asked.
Anything with a mouth can bite, I replied, but people bite into chicken more than chickens bite into people.
Biting is big now.
Thanks to the Twilight series, fangs are sexy. Last night’s “kiss” at the MTV Movie Awards between vampire Robert Pattinson and werewolf Taylor Lautner has kept Pattinson on Google trends’ top ten list since it occurred. But biting is only cool if it’s by a supernatural creature that could fundamentally change your life with the snap of its jaw. Twilight teaches teens that a vampire’s bite is not something to fear, but is something that brings true love together forever.
Today, kids seems to know more about mythical creatures than the common animals found in thier own backyards. So they are frightened by the squirrel racing across the tree limbs, or the pigeon on thier stoop, the spider in the bathroom, or the chicken brought into thier classroom.
Richard Louv addressed this new fear of nature phenomenon in his book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, but New Orleans teacher Beverly Cook tackled the issue head on this spring.
After seeing her students frightened of the police horses at a Mardi Gras parade, she organized a horseback-riding field trip for her Culture Club students at McMain Secondary School. Cook taught her students to face thier fears and not to discount something just because you don’t know about it.
A lesson they would not have learned if they had been left inside to watch the MTV Movie Awards.