My youngest son’s class made a Bug Exhibit for the children’s parents to come and see last week. My goodness I was impressed! There was a painted paper mache balloon beehive complete with bees and a ladybug on a grassy field, grasshoppers in droves, and butterflies fluttering all around. The children used recycled goods like plastic cups, and cardboard boxes to help make their creations.
The class was having circle time, sitting around the teacher reading a book together, when I came to pick up my son and it gave me an opportunity to look at the exhibit more closely. I interrupted the circle time to tell the kids what a great job they had all done. They were quick to innumerate to me their individual contributions and show me residual paint that still needed to be washed from their hands.
What struck me most was how proud they all looked and how confident they were in what they had put together. They had worked together as a class to make a darn good Bug Exhibit and they knew it! It was inspiring to see four and five years olds feel that good.
It reminded me of a documentary that I’d seen a while back called I Am. The film talks about how species on earth that are far more ancient than humans abandoned the idea of placing a high value on competition long ago. In fact, competition and the need for individual achievement have no place amongst these more evolved beings. In order for the species to survive, they have to work together, for example ants building and foraging for the good of the colony not the individual ant.
Oh course, human beings are naturally competitive. But what if we weren’t? Would that really be all bad?
I fell in some small way that I witnessed what humans can accomplish when they work together at my son’s Bug Exhibit. No one was competing. No one even thought there might be a competition. They simply worked together to put the best Bug Exhibit they could, and they succeeded.
It’s a lesson I think we all can learn from.