(#12) Raccoon Says: “You Have Everything You Need”

Note to Reader:  This series will focus on how to encourage children to be more conscious and conscientious of the world around them, both the physical and the non-visible world of Spirit. These columns will initially focus on animal spirit guides found in the Children’s Spirit Animal Cards, which are intended to help children understand the guidance that spirit animals can provide.
#12 – Raccoon Spirit- You Have Everything You Need

“Everything you need you already have. You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else. Your completeness must be understood by you and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality.”—Wayne Dyer

“When you cannot distinguish between wants versus needs, or if you can’t identify a want as a want, you set yourself up to live in a constant state of craving and disappointment.”—Unknown

Raccoons are some of the most resourceful creatures on this planet. Being very adaptable beings, they have been known to make their homes in forests, marshes, prairies, and even cities. They’re omnivores and will eat just about any thing. Raccoons have incredible dexterity with their front paws and long fingers, which enables them to easily forage so they can enjoy a variety of foods. Because of their intelligence and their remarkable adaptability, wherever they are, they readily find everything they need. Central to this is their resourcefulness, cleverness, and determination.

I had a personal demonstration of their resourcefulness. A few years back I was growing some vegetables in the backyard. To my consternation, some vegetable predator had uprooted some of the plants, obviously enjoying a meal. I wasn’t sure who or what it was but figured it wasn’t a human since the yard was fenced in.

One night I just happened to look out the back yard from the sliding glass door that allowed a perfect view and there he was—a raccoon! He glanced right at me with those eyes so perfectly outlined by a bandit’s mask, then scurried away. I knew then I had to do something to discourage this critter from ravaging my once beautiful vegetable garden

I had no desire to harm this magnificent animal, so I investigated some alternatives that were safe but would accomplish the intent. I found one that provided such a solution—a simple battery operated device that would emit a high-pitched sound that raccoonhumans could not hear but raccoons would find irritating enough to avoid going anywhere near this instrument.

I enthusiastically set up two of these boxes in appropriate areas near the garden, turned them on once the sun went down and left them there for the night. The next morning I checked them first thing. With my morning cup of coffee in hand I made my way to the back yard. Much to my chagrin, both boxes had been pushed over such that the speakers from which the sound emitted were face down and a few more of my plantings had been removed for what was no doubt a tasty late night snack! They knew what they wanted and were resourceful enough to get it by first disabling the sound boxes.

This scenario was repeated twice more before I finally surrendered and took the devices to the garage, where they now have a permanent home. I finally decided that just like raccoons, I needed to be more resourceful. What did I want? I wanted them to go elsewhere to forage for grubs and vegetables. So I meditated and called on the spirit of Raccoon and asked them to PLEASE leave my garden alone.

And they did for the rest of that year.

With the Children’s Spirit Animal Cards we’ve attempted to encourage certain values in children that are conveyed through the 24 spirit animals that are represented. Raccoon spirit certainly exemplifies resourcefulness and his message in the cards also reminds children (and adults!) of the difference between wants and needs.

From the extended reading in the guidebook that accompanies the cards, Raccoon’s message is:

Wanting something and needing something are two different things. When you say, “I need that new toy,” or “I need a new lunch box,” do you really need these? I don’t think so, but I can understand that you want them. The truth is there are very few things we need. There are the basic needs that you must have to stay alive, like air, food, water, and shelter. Once these are satisfied, there are other needs, such as the need to feel safe and to feel loved. But most of the time when we talk about things we need, they’re really things we want. Something to think about.

As long as you have some of these basic needs met, you have everything you need. There are people in the world who really have to struggle to meet even those basic needs and are appreciative when they are met. So after all, how many actually need a new bike or an iTouch or the latest Wii game? Those are things you might want, but you can live without them. Unless you’re so poor that getting your meals is a problem, you really do have everything you need. From there, anything else is a “want.”

In addition there are activities that are suggested to further reinforce this message:

* Make a list of everything you can think of that you want, then go through the list and cross out anything that isn’t truly a need.
* Every day for the next few days, think of at least three things that you have for which you are grateful.
* Recall different situations where you thought you needed more than you had, but then discovered that you had all the resources available to you that you needed.
* Notice what others around you may be lacking and say a prayer for them in addition to being grateful for all you have.
* Perform a “give-away,” where you take some toys and clothes that are in good condition but that you no longer use and give them away to organizations (such as Goodwill) that can recycle them.

For parents, here are some suggestions from the guidebook to reinforce this idea:

* From time to time point out how fortunate and blessed your family is by having one another, a place to live, food to eat, good friends, etc.
* Create a family gratitude board where family members can write or draw pictures of things they are grateful for.
* Observe your own language as to when you use the words, “I need . . .” when you could more accurately state. “I want . . .”
* Explain the difference between needs and preferences and that it’s okay to prefer one thing over another but that it doesn’t mean it’s a basic need.

The intention through Raccoon’s message is to encourage children to separate what they need from what they want and appreciate that they’re fortunate to have most of their needs met and can be grateful for that. As children grasp this they begin to understand the difference between need and want and learn to utilize their resourcefulness to get those things they want while being grateful for the things they have.

“Learn to adjust yourself to the conditions you have to endure, but make a point of trying to alter or correct conditions so that they are most favorable to you.”—William Frederick

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”— Charles Darwin

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