Finding Your Animal Totem

Common application "What make you, you?"

"On Thursday," announced my religion teacher, "we will be going to the zoo to find our animal totems." For those that don’t know, an animal totem represents the Native American belief that each person has a connection to a specific animal. I was excited to begin my search, and as soon as we got to the zoo, I began to march around looking for my true animal companion, my guide through the journey of life. Every animal I examined, though, had its faults: the lion was too proud and vain, the wolf too devious and misleading. Distressed, I sat down on a bench to reflect, looking for any help that I could get. At that moment, an animal slowly emerged from beneath a pile of wood in the exhibit across from me and began to stare at me as if it had recognized me from a previous life. That animal was the beaver. When I considered my own strengths and weaknesses in relation to those of the beaver, I knew that I had found my animal totem.

The beaver is an animal that is reliable, stable, and hardworking -- all qualities that I am very proud to possess. Year after year, the beaver works to perfect his lodge by tediously creating dams in rivers and lakes. Other animals rely on the beaver’s industriousness to help protect...

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