When I saw this video this morning, it brought tears to my eyes.
I haven’t watched television in years and years (like, we are talking 30 years). But even so, I was aware of Steve Irwin, the famous “Crocodile Hunter.” I just loved his authentic personality and his passion for animals that most of us think are annoying, dangerous, or disgusting. I thought he brought a needed consideration and compassion to animals most of us judge negatively, as well as being a wonderful warrior for conservationism on our planet.
So, like so many others, I cried when I heard about his untimely death when he was filming a stingray in his native waters. But I also believed he would have rather died that way then in some random car accident or physical illness. And I was blown away when his less-than-10-year-old daughter was able to give such an articulate, heartfelt, and beautiful speech about her dad at his funeral.
But this week, Irwin’s younger child, Robert Irwin (named after Steve Irwin’s father), made the news. He appeared on the late show with Jimmy Fallon, picking up the family cause by exclaiming enthusiastically about various lesser-known animals that he had brought to the show.
Now, Robert Irwin was only 3 or 4 when his dad died. So while he probably remembers his dad, I doubt he understood his father’s passions. But, like his big sister and his father, he grew up on a zoo. He has been living with animals in a way that most of us in our urban environments can’t imagine. However, at least in terms of American exposure, he has also been able to grow up outside the limelight.
I watched this video and thought it was absolutely remarkable. This young man, this son of the the Crocodile Hunter, is only 13. But look, not only how knowledgable and comfortable he is with the animals, but how authentic and comfortable he seems with the media. Look how easily and articulately he communicates his message about how incredible these animals are. Look how he coaches, not just you and me, but JIMMY FALLON into stepping beyond his comfort zone and interacting with animals that he would clearly prefer NOT to touch. And, remember–he is only 13! Most of the 13-year-olds I know couldn’t be that articulate talking to their own family, let alone an international televised audience.
I think he is AMAZING! And the animals he brings are amazing as well. Finally, as a mom, I have to give Irwin’s widow, Terri Raines Irwin, a shout-out for what a fantastic job she has done raising her children. When I watch her children, it is apparent she has not pushed them to espouse their father’s (and mother’s) cause just because that’s what the parents did. The children’s evident personal commitment to the cause demonstrates that she gave them a choice while still exposing them to the environment that produced the Crocodile Hunter.
So I want to acknowledge them all–Terri, Bindi, and Robert Irwin. Please keep reminding us all how important all our world’s creatures are, not just the cute and cuddly ones.
Here is the fabulous video:
Note: The sloth picture is from Wikimedia Commons and used under a Creative Commons license. The video is from The Tonight Show.