Lessons We Can Learn From An Ant Colony, Karen Merrit, LPC intern
In 2006, entomologists discovered the magnitude and complexity of the inner structure of an ant colony. Scientists took three days to pour ten tons of concrete down into the anthill. After one month, they began the excavation. Weeks passed before they were able to uncover fully the “megalopolis” of the colony. Spanning over 50 square meters and embedded close to 8 meters deep into the earth, scientists discovered multiple tunnels, chambers, and roadways. If that was not amazing in its own right, the effort it took to construct it is mind blowing. In order to move the 40 tons of soil, each ant had to bring to the surface an amount of dirt that was four times its weight. Furthermore, scientists estimate each ant carried each load at least a kilometer up once it was in the lower chambers. Imagine carrying something four times your weight uphill for over 1,000 yards.
When you think about it, our children have to do this on a daily basis. With growing accessibility to information whenever and wherever they want it, our children are being exposed to stories and events that are even difficult for adults to understand. Gone are the days of being the first one to talk with your child about a serious situation. Between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Kik, our children are exposed to war, hatred, violence, and injustice more than ever. The loads they are carrying weigh far more than ours ever did.
As parents, we become the excavators when we spend time slowly uncovering the “megalopolis” of information, emotions, and responses that make up the inner structure of our children. Just as the process of uncovering the anthill was slow and intentional, our conversations must follow the same structure. Spend time just talking with your child about his or her likes/dislikes, friends, hopes/dreams. This can be done in the car, at the table, or at bedtime. Spending even just a few minutes each day sets the foundation for more in-depth talking later.
If you’d like to learn more about how to start conversations with your child or if you feel that the load your child is carrying is too great and he/she needs help, please fill out a contact request or contact one of the counselors at SoulCare Counseling directly for a free 30 minute consultation. We are here to help!