Yesterday our sons goldfish passed away. The poor guy had been not looking good for a while – he was a beta that had lost most of his tail fin and his color was horribly faded. We had Franklin, the fish, for almost 3 years now and out of all of our fish, he was perhaps the coolest.

Franklin was one of those fish that seemed to recognize our son whenever he got close. He would start swimming around his tank and pop up to the surface of the water. In fact Sam used to say that he was giving him kisses because he would stick his fingers in the tank and Franklin would swim up and nibble on them.

It was also fun to watch Sam care for him (most of the time). He would get very excited about feeding him and often would ask to sit by his tank during lunch time. They really seemed to have a special bond. So I was surprised when I told him that he had died that there wasn’t more of a reaction.

My understanding was that children would get upset when a pet died, especially one as cool as Franklin was, but he really didn’t react much at all. As I sat there thinking about his response I began to ask him if he understood what I was saying – his response was, “We can get another fish.”

I have to admit that, that comment really frustrated me; more than that it actually made me angry! What kind of kid thinks that a pet can just be replaced like a broken toy? Have we really been teaching him that everything in life is disposable, even life itself?

I don’t really have an answer or even advice since this is something we’re still thinking through, but it has me very concerned. There is a part of me that wonders if he truly doesn’t understand, after all, he’s only five. But there does seem to be some understanding that Franklin won’t be around anymore.

So I’m sad at the loss of a very cool pet, and sad that it hasn’t affected Samuel more. Any thoughts on this one would be appreciated.

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