Concerning Kids – Why children love disgusting things

20-05-2023

Christian Life

Anna Gnatyshyna, CNE.news

A child looking at a tame rat. Children often like everything soft and furry. Photo iStock

Can beauty and disgust be taught? Or are these notions inherent to every human being?

There is a striking difference in what adults and children consider beautiful, adults might spend hours in museums while children can spend half of the day in the park picking the flowers. The children love all loving creatures and want to play with anything that crawls, while adults prefer to crush it or avoid it.

A year ago, my friend Maria was asked to take care of a domestic rat when the owner had to leave for a vacation. Then she saved another domestic rat when the owner wanted to get rid of it. Gradually Maria ended up with 5 different domestic rats she takes care of and feeds. And she plays with them. However, her family and relatives were not happy with such a “hobby”. Moreover, they were all disgusted to see the rats in the apartment even when they were kept in cages. Therefore, they stopped visiting her until one day Maria’s sister came with a child.

A 6-year-old was extremely excited to see rats. The child spent half of the day playing with the rats and feeding them corn and sunflower seeds. Then the child asked permission to hold the rat in her hands. In the end of the day Maria sends me the dozens of pictures with the child who pets the rats, hugs and even rubs her cheek against the rat. The mother was in shock while the kid had the best day of the year.

Furry creatures

Why did the child like the rats and want to play with them? Nobody has taught her to be disgusted with rats. The child did not know she should avoid them instead she saw a beauty in small furry creatures that were eating from her hands.

The beauty and disgust are taught from the early age. We teach the youngest what they should appreciate and what they should be disgusted by. Sometimes we are amazed by the children naiveness and open-mindedness. They have a unique ability to see good in people and in animals, they are open to contact and interaction.

Children do not have good or bad taste, it is just different. They discover the world and study it, learn to interact with it. Sometimes it is hard to accept their choice or their interests, therefore we tend to teach them what is good or not. With age and experience children’s perception of many things will eventually evolve and in 20 years they will find themselves shocked when their own kids will bring home frogs, bugs, stray kittens.

Maria still has the rats and the kid became a regular visitor. The child’s parents are not too happy with the “pets”, but they give their daughter a freedom to experiment, discover and enjoy her childhood.

About the author

Anna Gnatyshyna.jpg
Anna Gnatyshyna. Photo Anna Gnatyshyna

Anna lives in Kyiv and runs an Evangelistic Children's Club. She is a Children's Ministry Coordinator in Eurasia with the organisation OneHope. Anna studied theology and is a guest teacher at the Kyiv Theological Seminary.