This post is gonna be one of the more preachy ones out there, and I promise you, I come from the exact same squeamish place you do when it comes to insects. Ladybugs are adorable, cock roaches come straight from hell. Ticks cause disease, fleas are annoying… you get the picture.
So I’m no entomologist and I’m not about to go letting a bunch of icky looking bugs crawl around on my hand for fun, but there’s a major lesson here: STOP IT WITH THE BUG MURDER!
Yes, it’s all fun and games when people share Facebook memes screaming “kill it with fire” whenever you see a spider, but the reality is, those bugs (yes, even the ugly ones) are a vital part of our ecosystem. Spiders catch and kill nasty bugs. Don’t like mosquitoes? Stop killing bugs (and birds, by depleting their food supply and spraying insecticides). It’s that simple.
Again, I’m not letting roaches take up residence in my kitchen cabinets, but when we’re outside, we just invaded their space. And there’s nothing sadder than watching a person–especially a child who’s been taught to be aggressive towards these food web contributors instead of curious about them–use his exponentially more powerful physical might to destroy a tiny creature who has no idea what it did wrong.
So what should you teach your kids about bugs? Something along the lines of, “Hey! Look at those little hairs on his legs! Wow, I’ve never seen one up close before, you can actually see all his eyes! Here, use this app on my phone to figure out what kind it is!” Then explain why we shouldn’t grab it if we don’t know what it is, but that we certainly can’t kill it because it’s an important part of the food chain.