Saturday, November 10, 2012

Life, respect, and the lessons of insects

Respect for others.
Respect for all living things.
Respect for the environment.
Respect for yourself.

 Having changed schools this year I have come into contact with children who have not yet learned these 4 guidelines. So how do we start?

We start with respect for all living things.

I was surprised to see children catch and kill insects.  Insects are important to our environment, they eat decayed and dead debris, they pollinate our flowers and crops, and they teach us the value of hard work.  Insects never stop working!

We are on a beautiful 100 acre campus in the country.  Because we live in the south east USA we can be outdoors every day.  Because of our location we deal with insects and reptiles on a regular basis.

Many of our students came in with fear of these creatures, and the inclination to kill them.  We have worked with the students to observe nature and respect that each creature has a job to do and we must allow them to do it.

Observing the gecko sunning itself on the fence or the stag horn beetle digging in the grass have benefits for children.  Watching a spider create a web, noticing how dragonflies use their wings and how a turtle makes it's way through the grass are great lessons for children.  The animal kingdom has a lot to teach us if we are patient and observant.

So now when children in our class see one of these creatures they feel protective and tell others to leave it alone, it is doing it's job.

At home you can foster this by not killing insects, scoop them into a box or onto a piece of paper and take them outside.  Don't react when you see a spider or cockroach, just quietly and gently remove it from the inside of your house to the outside.

There of course in one exception to this rule.  The only time it is okay to swat at an insect is if it is attacking you,  So mosquitos....beware!

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