Bugs may be small and easily taken for granted, but they are most children’s first intimate encounter with a wild animal. How they are taught to deal with these small creatures sets the tone for their relationships with larger ones such as birds and amphibians.
To a two year old, there’s no such thing as an ant, a wasp or a spider. They’re all bugs and worth a closer look. Unfortunately, in their zeal to teach children to be wary of dangerous bugs, many adults tend to not discern between those which are poisonous and those which aren’t.
By showing their disdain for all bugs and killing any that cross their paths, many adults inadvertently teach children that all are to be feared and destroyed at every opportunity.
If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive.
~ American Quaker Saying
If handled carefully, even a stink bug will not release the smelly substance in its glands. A gentleness and reverence for all creatures should be taught at an early age. It’s important to remember that, the younger the child, the more she/he learns by modelling rather than by verbal instruction. Colonies of ants found under stones are fascinating to watch as they go about their business. A child who’s shown how to put overturned stones back in place to leave insects undisturbed is more likely to take that care than a child who’s simply told to do so.
Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.
~ Bradley Millar
Butterflies seem to be the least threatening of bugs to adults and children alike. Colorful and delicate, a child has to learn both patience and quietness in order to approach them successfully. This isn’t easy but well worth the effort and practice.
The reward is a lifetime of being able to see nature in an up-close and personal manner that allows awe and wonder to enhance any time spent outdoors.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge ~ The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
All text and images copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012