“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” ~Marie Curie
Each of my 6 children have been afraid of something. Not just a little timid. Terrified. And the something they have been afraid of? Nine times out of ten: BUGS.
We tried the usual things. Talking and explaining and reading stories about insects. With some of the kids, this worked well. For some, it did not.
So we tried a few more things, like visiting the butterfly exhibit, or the Bug Zoo in the city where we lived…This also worked for a couple of them. But not for all.
I set up bug play bins for the more reluctant of my children…This technique was also helpful.
But I had one who couldn’t overcome. No matter what I tried. My middle son, whom we call Birdie, was having nightmares about bugs…bees in particular. I took him to the honey farm near our town. He was interested and curious, but still afraid when the lights went off at night. I made him a special bug-smacker for bedtime. No luck. I made him a “green bug-shield blankie.” Still no luck.
Then I had an idea. It involved bringing a bug home.
That’s right. I bought my son a pet bug. I wanted him to understand insects and be responsible for the care of one. I thought if he could think of the bugs as friends and companions, just like a hamster or a fish, he might “forget” to be scared of them. I couldn’t bring a bee home to him, so I went to the pet store and found the perfect bug.
A Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.
I know what you’re thinking…SICK!
But just hear me out.
This particular breed of cockroach is vegetarian. That’s right. They eat veggies and fruit. They also live a REALLY long time. They are quiet. They are clean. They are gentle. And they are cheap.
Still not convinced?
Maybe this little picture story will help…
I don’t have digital copies of the construction of Joe’s house, but here are a few snapshots of the photos I made that day…Birdie built his bug’s house out of an old mild carton and some paint. He read a book with me on how to care for his new pet. He named him Joe. And then we scrapbooked the story together…
And they were friends. And Joe stayed beside Birdie in the cage on his bed every night. And there were no more nightmares about bees.And that summer, you couldn’t keep the bug net out of his hands. He was always catching insects and studying them before setting them free once again.
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