It is a simple concept really. We have all heard someone talk about it, a cartoon poke fun at it, or have viewed a park sign exclaiming it. “DON’T FEED THE BEARS!” They are not cute and cuddly as Teddy has been depicted for years. They are actually creatures that are predators nearing the top of their food chain which kill, even people, when threatened or encountered in the wrong setting(s). The truth about feeding bears is that you are simply saying,”Hey, come here for food.” The animals will repeat with reward. Pavlov had an entire scientific breakthrough with this.
Perhaps the store at the mall has a sale every week and they give you rewards when you visit them good for the following week. They do not even have to do that. The retailers have also been paying attention. Each week – like clockwork – they have a new ad. New specials. Come to the campground. But what happens when suddenly the food stops. The sale has loop holes. The money is not there. The “good” thing is not available. We change – often for the worse. (If you have ever worked in retail, you’ll get it.)
So, how do bears have anything to do with ME? Everything. We are creatures that take the least path of resistance. We will take the solution where we have to exert minimal effort for maximum reward if left to our sole unintelligible desires. Sometimes this is easier to do than realize. You need an answer, so you call someone. Then, you need another answer – you call that person again. Before you know it, the answers are provided – but not by you; or perhaps it is you that continues to feed the foragers. When you suddenly stop providing answers – there it is – confrontation. We must learn to provide accountability without removing responsibility. Provide the tools, as it were, or teach the man to fish…
We are all bears. Please stop feeding us.