ALTERING OUR ATTITUDES VIA OVERCOMING OUR FEARS

wolf cub I was reminded today of a book I read over 40 years ago. It was by a Canadian author named Farley Mowat. Before I read Never Cry Wolf, I was under the impression that the wolf was an evil creature, I was afraid of them even though, at the time, I never even saw one….

 
 
Below is some background on the book…..
 
  
Never Cry Wolf  is a book by Canadian author Farley Mowat, first published in 1963 by McClelland and Stewart. It was adapted into a moderately successful movie of the same name in 1983. It has been credited for dramatically changing the public image of the animal to a more positive one.
 
In 1948-1949, Canada‘s Dominion Wildlife Service assigns the author to investigate the cause of declining caribou populations and determine whether wolves are contributing to the shortage. Upon finding his quarry near Nueltin Lake, Mowat discovers that rather than being wanton killers of caribou, the wolves subsist quite heavily on small mammals such as rodents and hares, even choosing them over caribou when available. He concludes that “We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be — the mythological epitome of a savage, ruthless killer — which is, in reality, no more than the reflected image of ourself.” Mowat comes to fear an onslaught of wolfers and government exterminators out to erase the wolves from the Arctic.
 
The book’s message that wolves were harmless mouse-eaters became influential, leading to popular reaction against Soviet wolf-culling efforts.
 
 
The text in red is taken from
 
 
Years later, I was living in a small city in Northern Ontario. On my way home from work one day I found the cutest little puppy that was abandoned. I brought it home and we decided to keep her. When we took her to the vet we were informed that it was not a puppy at all, it was a wolf cub. He told us that despite that, it was sill considered a canine and it was legal for us to keep her. We named her Laika, after the first Soviet dog in space. She was a delightful pet and very loving. Many lessons were learned by all who came into contact with her….. she was definitely not the the evil creature that we once thought she was. The book certainly helped me overcome my fears…. basically fears of the unknown.
 
What made me think of that book today? The situation today in Israel/Palestine. The fear and misconceptions we have of each other. The Palestinian is feared by the Israeli, the Israeli is feared by the Palestinian. WHY??? Basically because of ignorance of each other. This particular month is the perfect time to overcome these fears, the month of reflection for both of these peoples. Perhaps I am oversimplifying the situation, but in reality it is a very simple one and one that we can all overcome.
 
On a one to one basis we can change the picture. Just as my fear of the wolf was based on ignorance, our fears of each other are based on the same. Until I read the book, until I actually met a wolf, I was terrified of them….. until one in particular actually became part of our family. Love opens the doors to many opportunities…just try it.
 
Every morning I drink my coffee from a mug that has the following quote on it…..
“The greatest discovery of an generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude”.
-William James
 
If this post alters the attitude and life of anyone reading it, my mission has been accomplished.

1 Comment

  1. Abbey said,

    August 23, 2009 at 11:24

    That was beautiful Steve… and a great analogy… thank you


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