A few years ago, a little boy named Stephen was afraid of all things having to do with animals. He shrunk from dogs, big and small. He wouldn't go near frogs or turtles or lizards. Animals were just not his thing. And then he discovered Discovery Kids and Animal Planet. More specifically, he discovered a man who shared his name and who had boundless enthusiasm for all the wonders of God's creation. And that enthusiasm was infectious. He was mentored by Steve Irwin, otherwise known as the Crocodile Hunter. Irwin was a "living science" kind of guy. He so loved what he was doing and so loved where he was doing it and so loved the people he was doing it with that he passed that passion on. And with it, he passed on a lot of knowledge. At first, Stephen was just fascinated with the animals caught safely inside the television. But, with time, he ventured outside. He wasn't wrestling with crocodiles, but he was pursuing frogs and toads. And he took a big leap and embraced our puppy, who soon became a rather large dog.
Some children ask for Cartoon Network; Stephen will always rather watch Animal Planet.He retains all the little facts and big concepts presented in a larger-than-Australia way by a man who has a contagious passion for science.
It's going to be a sad day here. Steve Irwin died this morning, out doing what he loved to do--getting very close to dangerous animals. We've lost a kind of hero for little boys. And we've lost a great educator for us all.