Lily and the ants

Lily and the ants

Lomé Louw

“Lily, what are you doing?  Just look at the kitchen floor!” scolded Mommy.

Lily was carefully lifting spoonsful of tiny ants out of the sugar bowl while sitting on the floor.  All around her were sugar crystals.  The floor was a STICKY mess.

Lily was trying to scoop all the sugar together in a little heap.  “I am saving the ants, Mommy,” she explained in a sugar-coated voice.  She didn’t want Mommy to get angry before she had time to explain what she was doing.  “I know when Mommy sees all the ants in the sugar bowl, Mommy will throw the whole lot into the dustbin or, even worse, they’ll land in Mommy’s hot coffee water …  And then … Then all these lovely little creatures will be gone.”  The tears welled up in her eyes.

“Lily love, explain to me what makes it so special that you want to save all the little ants?  They make me angry because a mug of coffee with ants floating on top is not a pretty sight,” Mommy says rather annoyed.

“Mommy, today I saw the ants in action and I understood that just as I do, they too have a reason for being on earth.  A couple of these little ants carried a giant dragonfly from the sandpit to their nest next to the swings.  They didn’t even stop once to take a rest”, an excited Lily explained.

“Was the dragonfly still alive, Lily?”  Mommy’s face and body showed utter disgust.  She really dislikes all creepy-crawlies.

“No, Mommy, it wasn’t.  I asked my teacher why ants carry other dead beetles and bugs to their nests.  She explained that ants are incredible insects.  Ants keep the earth clean from all dead insects lying around.  They carry them to their nest because they use them as food.  Can you imagine how it would look outside if the ants did not carry them away?  It would really look like an insect cemetery!!”

“But that’s not all, Mommy.  My teacher took my hand and we walked back to the classroom.  She wanted to show me something else.  In our class the ants were busy collecting all the bread-crumbs we had dropped and were taking them to their nests.  Mommy, I realized today that ants are not on the earth to annoy us.  They make the earth a better, cleaner place!  My teacher gave me a hug and said that God has a plan with everything He creates, even the tiniest of ants.”  Lily held a minute ant in her hand for Mommy to inspect.

Mommy sat down on the kitchen floor with Lily and began to scoop the ants, one by one, from the sugar bowl.  “My dearest Lily, today you taught me a lesson about life.  The Lord certainly has a plan with each of us, no matter how big or small we are.  As from today Mommy will try not to get rid of little ants again.”  Mommy bent down and kissed Lily on her forehead.  “Do you know, you are just as special as these little ants?  They make the world a better place and you too, because today you taught me to take care of God’s creation.  I am proud of you and not angry any more about the mess on the kitchen floor.”

Verse from the Bible: From Bible@guys – Hennie Stander.

Gen. 1:26 Then God did something very special.  He said: “I want to make people.  I want them to take care of the earth.  They must look after the fish and the birds and the animals.”  God made people to cherish the earth.

Proverbs 6:6 Don’t ever be lazy.  Observe how the ants work.  In summer they take plenty of food to their nests.  Then they have enough to eat in winter.  Nobody keeps on telling them to work hard.  They do it themselves.

Originally published in My Child and I, Summer 2020

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