For the month of April, we will be expanding our view and understanding of the natural world by diving into the world of bugs! For many people, even the idea of bugs can raise fear or apprehension followed by the desire to get rid of them. Certainly, there are a few critters that need to be kept away, but for the most part they are enormously useful to us—from pollinating flowers to breaking down organic matter (nature’s composters). They are an intricate and necessary part of the workings of our world, and as such need to be respected.
My favorite story concerning bugs involves a little boy in our school who loved killing ants—he would see one and immediately smash it. We, of course, talked to him repeatedly about being kind, and encouraged him to just observe what the ants were doing, but he remained insistent. One day we had a sub who had taught young children in a Buddhist school, and when he saw this child in action he asked simply, “Did that bug want to live or did it want to die?” and that was the end of the behavior. This is what we want to instill—respect for all life, the foundation of which is an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things, including bugs!