When my younger brother was very little he liked ladybirds. He may still like them, I haven’t asked. I remember that he used to have a ladybird nightlight – one of those ones that plugs into a socket in the wall. I think he might have had a ladybird backpack but I don’t remember for certain.
He enjoyed finding ladybirds. He often wanted to old them. Luckily they were able to fly away from his toddler-typical over-exuberance. Woodlice, on the other hand, were not able to fly away. He was very interested in them too, especially the way the rolled themselves up. But sometimes he managed to get hold of them and “vroom vroom” them as if they were cars. Doing so inevitably broke all their legs off and killed them. Poor little bugs. Of course it wasn’t his intention to kill them. He didn’t know.
I’m trying to make sure to teach the boys to respect animals. I encourage them to be interested in them, and to look at them, but to be gentle at the same time. When we saw this ladybird, for example, I got them to come close and look. But I did not allow them to grab at the ladybird, or bash the leaves around. I did my best to explain that ladybirds are fragile because of how small they are, and that we must be careful not to damage it. I’m sure it’s a lesson that will need to be repeated, but I believe that it’s important to teach children to respect all life. Whether it’s bugs, birds, lizards, mammals, or other humans. No matter what, life is life and should be respected, cherished, and appreciated.
Some adults could do with learning that too.