The remarkable skills that animals possess, which make them survive and thrive in the wild, offer great lessons for us Animals have been our companions since time immemorial. The biological and ecological role of biodiversity is immense and indispensable to keep the natural balance. Apart from this, these creatures also have characteristics and symbolic meanings which provide essential lessons in life for us through observation and interaction.

Simply put, if you have a pet animal, such as cat, dog, parrot, etc., in your home, you might have observed certain traits in them that carry various lessons for us which are highlighted in this write up. Adopting and practicing those qualities in our daily life, it would certainly add up to our personality grooming.

Here are some of the traits and characteristics that some birds, animals and insects have which provide an opportunity of learning to all of us.

Watchfulness and observation are useful skills
Watchfulness and observation are useful skills

Be watchful and focused

Many birds and animals are very watchful and good observers like monkeys, crows, dolphins, eagles, kites, etc. They are very curious but cautious too, so they scan situations and act accordingly, moving closer or away, as the situation demands.

Eagles and kites have very sharp vision which allows them to find their prey on ground even when they are soaring high in the sky. They are also able to avoid danger through this quality of theirs.

From them we can learn the lesson of being watchful in our daily life. It is essential to develop the habit of watchfulness and observation as early in life as one can. Observation sharpens the memory and helps us remember places, people and other things in our daily life, which also will help us avoid dangers. Observation helps in learning too.

Animals like lion, cheetah and crocodile, etc., are display remarkable concentration by focussing their eyes on their target/prey. It is their concentration which helps them get their target easily. These animals teach us to stay focus on our target even when there are many distractions around, because focus is the key to success.

The spider teaches us to work hard and not to give up
The spider teaches us to work hard and not to give up

Maintain order and discipline

Most birds, animals and insects maintain order and discipline in some way. Ducks and geese form a “V” shape formation, called Skein, while flying in the sky. If you notice, there is one leader bird ahead of all and the rest following him in perfect order, especially during migration.

Similarly, honey bees and ants display order and discipline by working jointly in an organised manner, which helps them get their work done easily, collectively and efficiently. Their strength and success lies in unity and teamwork. Moreover, lions and wolves have a leader and the rest in their ‘pride’ and ‘pack’ follow the leader and maintain order and discipline, which add to their strength.

This all gives us a lesson about the importance of maintaining order and discipline by obeying rules wherever we are, be it home, work place, school and public places. This quality binds the members of a group together. This is one of the most important lessons that we must practice in our daily life to avoid disorder and failure.

The slow-moving turtle doesn’t ‘make waste in haste’
The slow-moving turtle doesn’t ‘make waste in haste’

Keep at it

Animals and insects, such as ants, butterflies, spider, beaver, and many others, work hard and continuously show consistency in their efforts. You must have seen the spider web, which is so delicate that sometimes they get damaged by wind, humans or other animals, but the spider never rests. It start building it again and again.

Similarly, the beaver, while making a dam in water with the help of tree twigs, branches and leaves, has to face difficulty as the dam breaks and washes away with water so many times but the beaver keeps building it repeatedly until it is successful.

These animals give us lesson that we should not give in to circumstances and keep chasing our goals by continuous struggle. If you are left out of the top positions in your class or school, keep on working continuously and keep in mind the lesson that these little creatures give us. The victory will be yours.

A crocodile waits patiently for its prey to come close
A crocodile waits patiently for its prey to come close

Believe in yourself

As an innate ability, many birds and animals migrate thousands of miles from one place to another during winter and spring. The ducks and flying insects believe in themselves that they will cover thousands of miles of journey in their cyclic migration.

The dragonfly covers around 10,000km; while a monarch butterfly covers 48,000km during migration. It is the spirit that keeps them going without stopping. You may have heard about the fight of mongoose with a snake; this fight is deadly for the snake because the mongoose overtakes the snake with its skills, tactics and strength. This is how it gives a lesson that we should be confident about our strength and available resources to overcome hard times to achieve success.

Ants’ strength and success lies in unity and teamwork
Ants’ strength and success lies in unity and teamwork

Accept challenges

We all know that trees and plants put up with different conditions such as rain, storm, hail, sunshine, heat and cold, but they pass these challenges and ultimately become green in spring to produce flowers and fruits.

Similarly, the camel is adapted to the hard conditions of the desert and it survives in those conditions. These living things give us the lesson not to be discouraged, but to accept challenges as stages in the journey of life. You should not be afraid of temporary hardships, instead keep on going because there always a rainbow and sunshine after the storm.

The camel thrives over the harsh and challenging conditions of the desert
The camel thrives over the harsh and challenging conditions of the desert

Be cooperative and gentle

Spirit of friendship in some of the animals such as dolphins, dogs, parrots and cats is remarkable. They are very loyal. This gives us a lesson to maintain bonds of friendships to live a happy life. Many birds, animals and insects show cooperative behaviour among themselves as they work together.

The chirping sparrows and cheerful peacock show gentleness and cheerfulness, which give us a lesson of living a happy life among our friends and relatives. Just as the chirping of birds and playfulness of animals is fascinating to many of us, we must also spread happiness and interact with one another.

Mosquitoes and flies are very irritating so nobody lets them come closer and swats them away because they are only causing harm to humans. However, they give us a very great lesson of what not to do, that is not to bother others and irritate them with our behaviour.

Mosquitoes are irritating — showing us what not to do
Mosquitoes are irritating — showing us what not to do

Show preparedness

By instinct, most animals, birds and insects prepare themselves through proper actions and activities to get the food or avoid a danger. The predators prepare themselves before attacking a prey by getting close silently and then charging on the prey by grabbing it.

For example, the crocodile remains still in water to let the prey come close to it and it then takes the opportunity to grab it firmly without too much effort; while ants prepare for winter by storing food for later use and they maximise food consumption before hibernation that starts in winter. This leads to the development of a lot of fat due to which it passes the hibernation period and survives in winter.

Similarly, squirrels also eat more food in autumn and prepare themselves for winter when food is not available easily. The migratory birds also prepare themselves for long migration by storing fats for the energy they need during the journey. This shows that how these animals and birds prepare themselves for tough times and teach us the lesson that we must also prepare ourselves well before time for future tasks such as tests, exams and other important things in life.

Even an small insect like the dragonfly is unstoppable when it starts its long migration
Even an small insect like the dragonfly is unstoppable when it starts its long migration

Show patience and stability

The snail moves very slowly, dragging its body along but moves constantly. The turtle also moves slowly. It indicates that there is no hurry to do a work quickly because “haste makes waste.”

This teaches us that we should wait for good opportunities because time passes and brings good opportunities. The ants move on in search of food, which shows that we must explore opportunities with patience and stability. This also indicates that we must not get disappointed if it takes long to achieve success.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 4th, 2019

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