I don't want to pet a snake - A Dose of Encouragement

"Mummy she wouldn't let us out until we did it"

This was what my daughter told me when she got off the school bus and I could see that she was still very upset.

Linda was only in Kindergarten in a school in Delaware, where we had moved to live for a few years because of my husband's work.

Now we had come from Northern Ireland and  there are no snakes in Northern Ireland (but actually nothing to do with St. Patrick).  So the only time we needed to come into close proximity with one is when we saw one in the Zoo.

I have never liked snakes so even when we would go to the Zoo I quite often would just pass by the area with the snakes and my kids had never really complained about this because they were not keen on snakes either.

Well there we were in Delaware in 1993 knowing that there were snakes in America but hoping that they were confined to the hotter, drier mid & south areas of the country.


One day while we were walking with a friend and her children in a large parkland I saw a snake on a rock.  I didn't say a thing but just hurried on by with all the children.

Philadelphia Zoo had snakes but same as before we just didn't bother to go near them.

But never did I think that my daughter's school would be the place where she was going to be confronted with a snake.

Never did I imagine that in her school she would be forced to touch a snake!

Never did I imagine that her Kindergarten teacher was going to be so nasty as to tell the children that they would not be allowed out of the library until they petted this snake.

It was not even a pet in the school but had been brought in by the librarian.

Who would ever think that they were sending their child off to school one day to be told they would not get out of school to get the school bus home without petting a snake.  A child that age would believe what they are told and would worry about how else they would manage to get home.

Linda was like me she hated the sight of snakes and the thought of a snake being near her but the teacher didn't care about that.

Bullying can be done by teachers as well as by pupils and this was bullying.

Touching the snake did not physically harm Linda but it did emotionally for a while.

Thankfully we are not a family to make something like this grow and fester in a child's mind by going over and over the incident or by showing her how really annoyed we were that this had happened because children do not need to know every feeling we have or action we take over things as a protection for them.

Unfortunately we can all go through forms of this kind of thing where people, through some means of manipulation, pressure us into doing things that we really don't want to do.  That we are really uncomfortable doing.  That is just not a right fit with us.

Those things will not harm us physically but they do harm us emotionally and sometimes spiritually too.

God made us all and He made us each as a unique person.

Our thoughts each day are different from others thoughts.

Our feelings are different from others.

Our needs, our gifts, our physical abilities are all different.

What one person does not mind dealing with, the rest of us may cringe from, like Linda and the snake.

God has not made us as we are to then expect us to do a job for Him that we are not suited to.

Sometimes God will bring us to deal with something we are not so keen on but He is there to help us through that and if He is bringing us to deal with it He will not do it through the bullying tactics of another person.

We do not have to listen to people if they try to claim it is something God wants us to do - if God wants you to do something He will confirm that in your heart.

We do not have to listen to people if they try to persuade you that we need to do it because there is no one else to do it - remember if God wants you to do it He may use someone to cause you to know of an opportunity, but He will still confirm it in your heart.

I want to

Learn to seek God for wisdom to know when to say Yes and when to say No

As Linda grew up she learned to say No when something was not right for her, to stand up against the manipulation of others.

However we also cannot take the "say No" idea to mean that we don't have to do anything and that we can just say No to God as He stirs us toward His service.

We can learn to say No 

when it is a man-made opportunity and Yes when it is a God made opportunity.

We can learn to say No

when people think they know best and Yes when we know that God knows best.

We can learn to say No

when others try to manipulate us into the wrong road for us.


We can learn to say YES 

when God confirms in our hearts that this is something He is preparing us for.

I want to

Learn to stand up and say Yes when it is a God made opportunity

I don't want to pet a snake, do you?


  1. I am with you... and Linda... No thank you! ;)

  2. Oh, what a story!! And what a brave little girl! Bullying really can be done by anyone and it's never right. And not an instrument of our Lord! Thanks for highlighting this and the reminder that we can say no : ) Blessings from a #w2wwordfilledwednesdays friend!

  3. Well said. And, no, I don't want to pet a snake. :)

  4. I don't like snakes either and I would be outraged if my child was forced to touch one at school of all places. I am a fairly quiet, reserved person and over the years I have had a lot of negative comments about those features of my personality. I am learning that just because my personality is different doesn't make it inferior to outgoing people who are the life of the party, and I have started standing up for myself when people make those comments. I won't be petting that snake any longer!

  5. I completely 100% agree with you. No way! Sadly some people have control issues and try to force their ways on us. We definitely do need to learn to say NO way Jose!!!

  6. Well said! Great principle to live by!

  7. What I am learning as a mom is that shaming is another form of bullying. I have to be very careful not to do it - but the place I see it most prevalent is among teachers. This has been on my mind lately.

  8. Your daughter was brave to pet the snake and brave to tell you that she did not want to do it. She is fortunate to have you as her mother to help her sort through her emotions from that incident. I wonder why the teacher thought it was important to require every child to pet the snake. I wonder what her lesson was.

  9. I completely agree with your statement that even teachers can bully. That is awful. It brings to my mind that I want to teach my children to be strong enough to say no, even to an adult, if they aren't comfortable doing what they've asked. And no should be okay sometimes.

    I have a snake-lover in my home. We've done lots and lots of research and observation. Then, one day, at age 5, he caught a snake on his own. It wasn't dangerous at all. Because we'd done the research, he knew. But, what a scary moment for me as a mom! I've had to learn to let him be himself, despite my own fears! You can read about our adventure if you want. :)
    Glad to link up on #ThoughtProvokingThursdays

  10. I don't want to pet a snake, I am mentally preparing for the day I may have to face my fear and give into the pressure of my son in order to help him over come his fear. He loves animals! LOVES them, he loves giraffes, but he refuses to feed them every time we go to the zoo. I never make him but overtime I believe he will grow in bravery and feed them himself, until then I will lead by example and face my fears, praying he will one day do the same for me and help me face my fears.

  11. I don't want to pet a snake either. I have killed more than my share, but that's a different thing. Wrapped a rattlesnake around the steering wheel (no. I was not a Christian yet) to get rid of an admirer. It is what it is. I don't like snakes and never will. Yes the teacher was wrong. Facing our fears - age appropriate - is right, but not without the parents. Bless you....~Chris~

  12. I don't really have an issue with literal snakes, but I sure do with bullying. Not cool! I appreciate the application in this post-- thanks for sharing it.

  13. I love this but my teacher heart is breaking that this teacher made her touch the snake. I would have been scarred for life over that experience. You tied it together so well when you said to seek God when confirming our yes or our no. Thank you for sharing this at the Weekend Brew.

  14. Just coming away from a trip to the Philly Zoo . . . yup, they've got some big ones. God is able to minister to us in the midst of our fears. Glad to have met you at Inspire Me Mondays.

  15. Interesting story and wisdom in your words for all ages!

  16. Oh. I am with you! No snakes please.
    I'm also with you in that we have to learn to not let others manipulate us into doing their version of "right". I'm a natural people-pleaser-type and that's been hard thing for me to develop. Great post, thanks!

  17. Living out west, I have seen a lot of snakes and my boys love to catch them. But I am with you, I never want to be forced to pet one. Such a good lesson in learning how to say no.

  18. That teacher was out of line to demand the children touch the snake. I can understand a teacher trying to show that some snakes are poisonous and others are good in the garden for catching mice, such as gopher snakes. I am glad your daughter has learned to stand up for herself and not be manipulated by others. I liked how you showed us to say no to something's but yes to God. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

  19. Anonymous13:24

    Excellent post! The concept of saying "no" has been on my mind lately. I have a 17 month old and we're already learning how to say "no". I want to teach him that there is a time to say "no" when we come across snakes, and not just whenever we want.

    Thanks for being my #RaRaLinkup neighbor!

  20. well said - thanks for linking up at #bloggersbrag Pinterest party!

  21. How sad that your daughter was bullied by an authority figure. I would feel bullied if I had to eat something I didn't want to eat nor had ever eaten (meat, for example). Snakes? They don't bother me at all (my youngest had pet snakes for years). I confiscated one from some little boys yesterday and returned it to it's habitat (I'm not sure what the boys intended, but it never looks good when a group of kids gathers in a circle and moves away from a teacher!).

  22. This was an encouraging post, thank you for sharing it :-) And no, I am not keen on snakes at all!

  23. I'm totally horrified by snakes. Easy ones in my life and horrific ones... cobra, python, and others in Uganda...and rattlesnakes when I was a kid in Klickitat, Washington, very close to our house. I nearly was used to pick one up. Anyhow, sorry if I'm focusing on this, but snakes...even the normal kind which is in our area...make me filled with total fear. Bless you for sharing.

  24. You know, I had a lot of bully teachers. It's crazy. They are there to love on kids, but power is power. I am sorry she went through this. But, God always uses evil for his good as we trust him. I adore you, as a upstanding mother, who speaks truth. This post will encourage so many. It has encouraged me. Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

  25. Nope don't need a snake of any kind ~ Creative post for P

    artmusedog and carol
    Have a great weekend