As a child growing up in the suburbs in the United States, I had the good fortune of being spoiled by my parents. They allowed us many pets through the years, everything from goldfish to hamsters to cats to dogs. My mom was happy to let my brother and I take initiative and responsibility for the caring for these animals. I remember the good times: the wonder I felt as I simply observed these creatures and their behavior - and of course the comfort from cuddling a cat or being licked on the face by a loving dog. I also remember the bad times: crying because I didn't want to go out and walk the dog in the cold winter or cleaning the stinky poo from the cat litter box. But more often than not, these so called "bad times" were the ones that I learned from most. I learned the real meaning of responsibility. I learned that caring for another living thing that depends on you can be a wonderful thing. I become empowered and a little bit more independent than I had been. I grew. Through these 'hardships' I satisfied my curiosities about animals and nature, felt love and companionship from these pets, and learned some good lessons. Most of all, these 'bad times' made me appreciate the good times even more.
At OISCA International School, we have five turtles. They are the school's pets and the students' pets and the staff's pets. They are OUR pets. So together we clean them, feed them, change their water and instill in our students the sense of responsibility and empowerment. We want our students to learn through the good times and the bad times.