As a child, I was a squirrel whisperer. I lived in one of those small mid-western towns with big oaks and mulberry trees in the yards teeming with bushy-tailed critters. One summer, bored, I decided to tame one. After experimenting with different tactics, I decided that he was best motivated by nuts. I sat for hours, day after day, and lured it with peanuts, closer and closer until he trusted me enough to take one out of my hand. It took a lot of time, but I kept at it. After a month, he would eat a treat while sitting on my leg and let me pet him. We became friends. By the end of the summer, he would scamper into the garage and climb up onto my bike where he could reach the window, give a couple of knocks, (scaring my poor mother), and insist on my attention (and food).
The other day after a workshop, I was thinking, “Why do we understand that wild or frightened animals need such patience and wooing and kindness, and so often forget that our damaged children need the same thing?”