Friday, February 09, 2007
I wrote this essay a couple of years ago, but Craver's post about a spider prompted me to get it out, dust it off and share it with you.
I have three daughters. They love Barbies and princesses and dress-ups. And bugs. The kind that creep and crawl. They like seeing them up close and watching them for long periods. I, however, do not. I try to stay as far away as possible. When presented with a particularly interesting (read "gross") specimen to view in magnified glory under the bug viewer, I attempt to hide my disgust long enough (because I want to be a "good mom") to give an interested impression. Then I hurry off to brush away all those creepy-crawly sensations.
But I realized recently in my entomophobia I'm missing opportunities to teach my children. Not just about the eating habits of slugs, but about life. And death. And maybe even other things.
One backyard find was what my husband called an "exoskeleton". I called it "yucky". It was a crusty, bug-shaped shell, that, from my preferred viewing distance, actually looked like the real thing. But it wasn't. And therein was a source for so many lessons.
Like a lesson on our bodies and how, like the shell, they're only a temporary home. Or how we see something and think we know what it is until we get a little closer to really inspect it (a lesson on not judging others, perhaps?).
So maybe I shouldn't be so quick to run from their shudder-inducing insect finds. Maybe I should be beside them mining our backyard for teaching materials...Then again, I might just stick to safer indoor subjects. After all, bugs make for good Daddy/daughter bonding. Don't you think?