Being a modern mother, I have tried very hard not to pass my hatred of snakes to my children. When given the opportunity, I encourage my daughters to touch, hold, catch and play with snakes, as long as they have wise, careful adult supervision. When our 4th daughter was 2, that meant letting her hold a HUGE python in Florida. Her dad helped her. On Sunday, that meant sending them out to catch garder snakes.
Sunday we were invited to the home of some friends who live on acreage where they raise have many different kinds of animals. With lambing season just over, they have 3 "bummer" lambs, who need to be bottle-fed and raised by humans for one reason or another. To their delight, my daughters were invited to help with the feeding.
It was great fun for the girls, running around after the little lambs, playing tag with them, exploring the property, and generally having the kind of fun that is considered dangerous in our overly cautious society. When they came running into the house to report they'd found some snakes, my husband's immediate response was, "Did you catch any?" When they replied no, he headed out to help them. All the children joined in the fun and were soon relishing the joy of a new "pet." I, on the other hand, was hiding far away, inside the house, away from the doors.
Though I've tried very diligently not to pass my fear and hatred of snakes on to my children, I have not been able to hide my fear from them. So, being children, they wanted to tease their mommy. Safely away from the doors, I was sitting right by a rather large window, looking out into the back yard. Guess where the girls brought their new treasure. Yes, right to the window! I smiled and admired the snake, knowing that I had nothing to fear because of the safety margin of the window. When the girls left, laughing, I had no cause for concern.
The cause for concern came when the girls (laughing hysterically) brought the snake (in a butterfly net) past all my barriers of security, and stuck it in my face, literally!
Thankfully our host was sitting with me in the house (my husband hadn't returned from his snake catching adventure) and interviened for my protection. I'm even more thankful that I didn't pass out or loose control of bodily function, or do anything I'd later regret to one of my children. I did, however, totally cement in the minds of my children my absolute terror of snakes, providing them with unlimited opportunities to play pranks on me in the future. At least they don't appear to be afraid of snakes.